Khalwale puts Senate team on the spot for touring Ezekiel's church 'on their own'

Kenyan televangelist and the head of the New Life Prayer Centre and Church Pastor Ezekiel Odero when he appeared before the Senate ADHOC Committee investigating the Shakahola deaths at Parliament on October 13, 2023. [Boniface Okendo, Standard]

Members of the Senate Ad-hoc committee investigating the Shakahola massacre have been faulted for allegedly sponsoring themselves to tour controversial Pastor Ezekiel Odero's church, where he was cleared of operating a mortuary and a cemetery.

Senate Majority Whip Boni Khalwale kicked up a storm in the plenary, raising questions why members of the committee toured Pastor Odero's New Life Church premises in Kilifi County on Monday.

Khalwale said in the history of parliament, no MP or a group of MPs have ever sponsored themselves to undertake the business of the House, saying he may tell the House how the trip was planned if pushed to the wall.

“I am surprised that Senators who visited Pastor Ezekiel premises want us to believe they sponsored their trip. I ask that they should not push us further, otherwise I will state how their trip was planned and executed,” said Khalwale.

Committee chairman Tana River Senator Danson Mungatana told the House that the committee was running short of time and that is why the Senate team was ready to travel and come and make claims later which did not convince most senators.

“We are sure Kenyans will be proud of the work we have done and this Senate will stand tall irrespective of the people trying to cast aspersions on our work, we had already been given an extension, and we agree it was not possible to have been given another one especially because of budgetary constraints,” said Mungatana.

He said some people are sponsoring negative articles to throw a bombshell which will expose them since they failed Kenyans accusing them of sending Khalwale to the house to raise matters that were aimed to paint the committee negatively.

Senate Speaker Amason Kingi said there are some matters raised that are best handled administratively and others handled through the plenary and the matter raised by Khalwale is one such matter.

The trip created divisions in the committee with claims that senators who traveled were not accompanied by the secretariat which is a clear violation of the Standing Orders.

But Mungatana defended the trip as a fact finding mission. “We went to establish whether there are graves and a mortuary within Pastor Ezekiel’s compound as it has been claimed previously, we went to find out the truth, there is nothing else that took us there but this was part of our mandate as the Senate Ad Hoc Committee,” he said.

The committee accused the government of failing to facilitate the appearance of controversial preacher Paul Makenzi and Chief Government Pathologist Dr Johansen Oduor as it concluded it sittings on Tuesday before proceeding to write the final report.