The church in Kenya is as famous/infamous as most of the excellent politicians this country has produced. For some, it is a beacon of hope and change while for others it a symbol of wealth, greed, fraud and entitlement by the clerics who run these institutions.
Over the last decade or so, the church as a collective has been faced by many scandals, some that have made many questions the moral superiority that the institution claims to have.
But that isn’t the reason I am writing this article. Mine is to look back at some of the most sordid scandals that have occurred in the past.
Pastor Deya and his miracle babies scam
This pastor who has more lives than a cat will always be remembered for his infamous miracle babies scandal where he had been accused of kidnapping children.
After being extradited from England where he had run to, Deya was imprisoned in Kamiti for a time but was able to post a Sh. 10 million bond. Now he is back preaching just like he never left.
Thomas Wahome of Helicopter of Christ Church in Kenya
His scam was so obvious I don’t understand how people could beleive him!? But I digress. The Bishop as he was known, started charging members of his congregation about Sh1,000 shillings to tell them if their names were written in the Book of Life.
For those who aren’t aware, the Book of Life is where God records the name of all who are destined for heaven. And that isn’t the only scam he was running, he had previously told his followers that they could be healed of their diseases just by touching his clothes. The catch? Each congregant had to pay Sh1, 200 to get the chance of touching his clothes.
Prophetess Lucy Nduta of HIV healing
Healing is clearly an area where many church-goers are in dire need of. And as such desperation materialises. Evangelist saw HIV/AIDS sufferers as perfect marks for her grift.
Lucy who proclaimed that she was a prophetess, convinced HIV/AIDS patients into purchasing prayers that would cure them of the deadly disease. She promised her followers that she could heal HIV/AIDS through prayers.
Kanyari and his miracle scam
His is probably the most famous church scandal ever. Why? Kanyari was exposed by KTN’s famous investigative show, Jicho Pevu, and put the man of God in the spotlight.
The show exposed Kanyari for perpetuating that he could heal and bless people. The catch was that one had to send Sh.310 to him for them to get their miracle. “Send Sh310 to my number and get your blessings”. That was the easy pitch that engulfed many Kenyans.
It was however found out by Jicho Pevu that his shows were scripted, including the miracles. Since then Kanyari has rebranded and calls himself Pastor Mwangi.
Pastor Ng’ang’a has to make it on this list. His are too numerous to enumerate but there are some honourable mentions. Last year, Pastor Ng’ang’a was at the center of controversy after Tanzanian singer Rose Muhando attended his church.
The issue wasn’t her attendance but the exorcism that occurred on the beloved yet troubled musician. The exorcism became the talk of town as it was recorded on video for all to see.
Many wondered how Muhando had ended up at the church in the first place. But as with many things in his life, the incident hasn’t stopped the pastor from making eye-raising statements-In fact, it seems to have emboldened him.
Finger of God Church
This church was popularised by former KTN TV presenter Esther Arunga who brought into light it’s founder, musician Joseph Hello and Quincy Timberlake who became her husband.
The church wanted to form a political party and vie for the presidency, something many called them out for but they said that it was a call from God.
And that wasn’t the end of scandal for Arunga and Timberlake as trouble followed them to Australia where they had decided to relocate.
This man convinced his followers that he was a God. The man is said to have died Chemororoch village in Soy Constituency but that hasn’t stopped his widows and children from believing that he would come back. “Our God is not dead. He is just on a long journey,” is what they say.