Pastor Ezekiel’s arrest causes unrest as his faithfuls stage protests
Pastor Ezekiel Odero, a televangelist and leader of the New Prayer Centre and Church in Mavueni, Kilifi County, has been arrested over alleged indoctrination and mass killing of his followers.
The Coast Regional Commissioner, Rhodah Onyancha, said that various deaths have allegedly been reported on Ezekiel’s premises, some of which have been recorded in morgues that may be linked to him.
Investigations are already underway to charge him with criminal charges related to the mass killing of his followers.
Ezekiel is said to have close ties with his Kilifi counterpart, Paul Mackenzie, who is linked to alleged cultic activities following the discovery of close to one hundred bodies on his 800-acre farm in Shakahola in Malindi.
Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki has suggested that the government is currently working on regulating religious activities in the country following the Shakahola tragedy.
Ezekiel’s members have protested his arrest and demanded his release, threatening to storm the police station in Mombasa where he is being held.
They claim that Ezekiel had turned around the economic landscape of Mavueni, and his arrest would disrupt businesses. Pastor Josphene Kulundu said that the arrest of their leader was untimely and that they feared for their lives too.
However, CS Kindiki said that Ezekiel would face criminal charges over the alleged mass killings of his followers. He also said that police had managed to rescue over 100 people who were holed up at the premises and would be required to record statements.
As of now, Ezekiel’s church remains closed. It remains to be seen what action the government will take to regulate religious activities in the country following these incidents.
Last year, Pastor Ezekiel organized a massive religious gathering at Kasarani stadium in Nairobi, Kenya, which attracted tens of thousands of people from different parts of the country.
The event was highly publicized, and online users marveled at the huge following that the pastor commanded. Many traveled from far and wide to witness the supposed miraculous powers of the prophet.
The event was a mega crusade, and the crowds that attended were a testament to the pastor’s influence and popularity in the country.