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Watch: Viral pastor whose unique prayer tickled President Ruto speaks

By George Odiwuor February 29th, 2024 2 min read

Until Tuesday, February 27, Pastor Raphael Obego, a chaplain from Homa Bay, remained relatively unknown beyond the confines of his county.

However, his presence at the county’s second International Investment Conference at Tom Mboya University, where he delivered a prayer before President William Ruto, Governor Gladys Wanga and other senior government officials, swiftly transformed him into an unexpected sensation.

His unconventional choice of words had many reaching for their dictionaries. Pastor Obego’s prayer departed from the usual vernacular employed by clergy during such occasions.

Also read: Changed protocols: Inside Ruto’s unplanned visit to Homa Bay

Defending his linguistic flair, Pastor Obego told Nairobi News, “I was also surprised that my prayer became the talk of the town. The words I used are common, and most people can easily understand them when spoken.”

With over a decade of experience as a clergyman, Pastor Obego has cultivated a passion for employing intricate language in his speeches and prayers.

As a self-proclaimed theologian and Bible scholar, he attributes his linguistic prowess to his extensive study of religious texts.

“My experience in studying the Bible is what has enabled me to master words that I use when praying. I don’t read when praying as other clergy do,” explained Pastor Obego, who pursued theological education through various academic levels, from certificate to degree.

Following his studies at Pentecostal Bible College in Nyagori and Bugema University in Uganda, where he obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Theology and Chaplaincy, Pastor Obego was honoured with an honorary degree by Peace Foundation Christian University in the US in 2023.

Also read: Viral gluttony? Mukbang is becoming a popular trend with Kenyan TikTok

Reflecting on his unexpected moment in the spotlight, Pastor Obego recounted being approached to deliver the prayer before the Head of State.

Although his role as a county chaplain typically involves assigning prayers to clergy during county government events, he found himself unexpectedly thrust into the limelight.

Recalling the event, Pastor Obego stated, “I moved to the stage and prayed like I normally do. I was not prepared for it, but because of constant prayer, I decided to go ahead.”

Despite his impromptu delivery, his prayer resonated with sincerity, employing words such as “quantum leap,” “brouhaha” and “circumbulation (the act of walking around a sacred site)” to convey his earnest supplications for the success of the meeting.

As videos of his unique prayer continued to circulate on social media platforms, Pastor Obego found himself inundated with calls and messages, as individuals from diverse backgrounds sought to engage with his distinctive message.

“Some people were also sending the videos to me,” remarked the clergyman.