Weeping Bishop warns that her battle is fought in promised land

She started out with English and switched to Swahili, then Sheng, spewing phrases such as “tumefika place”, delivered in perfect Eastlands accent.

Bishops are experts in code-switching, a talent that comes in handy in their formative years preaching along the streets of Nairobi, where Margaret Wanjiru, unsurprisingly, began her trade. Not everyone understands “offertory” or “tithe”, but few are unfamiliar with the words “toa ndugu, toa dada”.

One might have imagined that speaking in tongues could have been the natural choice for the good bishop. But under circumstances as trying as she found herself on Wednesday, one seeks solace in the language they understand best and which would leave no room for ambiguity.

It didn’t take long for the jolly bishop to remember she was mostly fluent in crying, a language she swore could not escape the Lord.

And so she cried, her last resort in fending off her armed persecutors, keen on bringing down her “investment” - her Jesus is Alive Ministries church. Wanjiru’s tears would form a stream longer than the “train” she said would decorate her wedding dress back when she was ditching the late Kamangu Ndimu for her former sweetheart, South Africa’s Pastor Samuel Matjeke.

She wept and cursed her tormentors, some of whom she said had touched her thighs, promising that her tears would haunt them for generations to come. And Wanjiru believed she didn’t deserve the treatment she was getting, not when she campaigned so hard for her alleged persecutors.

“I wasn’t campaigning to be repaid like this,” the former Starehe lawmaker said fuming, punching into the air with the same arm that would later need a sling as it was ‘broken’.

At a press briefing that fateful Wednesday, Wanjiru was boiling in rage and would later blow off some steam, quite literally, as captured in an image of her in a wheelchair.

“You have rewarded us with broken hands, broken legs, and hurting bodies. You have rewarded us with evil.”

Of course, her message was meant for her now former allies, President William Ruto and his deputy Rigathi Gachagua, the two most powerful persons in Kenya.

But even with their power, Wanjiru would caution, the pair were no match for the person she was screaming to as she resisted claims that she was a land grabber.

“You have started a fight that you cannot fight. This is in the heavenlies,” she went on, making a “sweet promise” to Ruto and Gachagua that they would look for her, reminding them of the journey they have walked.

Indeed, Wanjiru has been a solid ally of Ruto’s and Gachagua’s, the acclaimed presidential ticket of “God”. She is among the preachers who have unabashedly offered off their pulpits to the political class.

Such transactions have always come with generous contributions. For Wanjiru, this trade-off was meant to secure her candidacy for the Nairobi governorship. She was poised to secure the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) ticket until the dimpled Governor Johnson Sakaja gatecrashed her party, forcing Wanjiru to settle for the less glamorous, at least to her, senatorial race, where she was floored by the eloquent Edwin Sifuna.

Wanjiru’s efforts to secure a degree in readiness for what she believed was her calling were swept down the drain. All this was déjà vu for the woman of the cloth, who faced a similar fate in 2013. Then an ardent supporter of Raila Odinga, Wanjiru believed she would bag the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party ticket. But former Governor Evans Kidoro had something she did not - a degree - and she would try out her luck to be senator, losing hugely to former Governor Mike Sonko.

Wanjiru was not always this unlucky. In 2007, she beat the odds to become Starehe MP on an ODM ticket. She has also had many wins in life, rising from a hawker and subsequently a toilet cleaner, and eventually overcoming “deep satanism and witchcraft” that had her going “full blast into hell” to become a street preacher along Nairobi’s Aga Khan Walk. All this as she thrived in motherhood. Later on, Wanjiru served as an assistant minister in the late President Mwau Kibaki’s government. In many ways, the glory was there for her before her ambitions to be governor overcame her and, perhaps, before she thought of the house of the lord as her “investment”.