Bishop Thomas Wahome of Helicopter of Christ Church says he divorced his wife because she used to assault him in public.
In an exclusive interview with The Nairobian, Wahome says his wife, Leah Mueni s. caused him untold suffering and embarrassment because she could strip naked in public whenever they disagreed at home.
“Most church members saw the suffering I was going through. If we had a small difference of opinion at home, she would come to church, in front of congregants and abuse me physically. I never hit back. I am a man, more so a man of God. I am not allowed to fight, or beat women. Men should never beat women whatever the circumstances,” he says.
Wahome adds: “It was better to suffer national shame just once by divorcing her, than suffer weekly shame whenever she started acting up in public. The fact that I am saved doesn’t mean I should lead a stressful life.”
We had met for an interview at an eatery adjacent to a petrol station along Mombasa Road. Dressed in a sharp brown suit, white shirt and black tie, Bishop Wahome arrived in a black Range Rover Sport, and everything came to a stand still. Scores of women who had been peacefully drinking their coffee left their tables and all headed to meet the bishop.
“We admire your work,” said one. “Please pray for me,” another piped.
One woman gripped his hands, and didn’t want to let him go. A burly man in a dark suit came and pried the woman away, then held on to Wahome’s hand. He also asked to be prayed for.
And right there, in the parking lot, the televangelist said a short prayer, asking God to shower the people with good health and ‘Amen’, they all chorused.
It took 15 minutes before I finally got to meet Bishop Wahome. We sat in a corner, and he ordered tea while I contemplated whether to order my usual cold Whitecap or not. I settled for double vodka and Krest. At least, I reasoned, there won’t be a brown bottle on our table.
“I own nothing,” he began when I asked about the Range Rover and the Land cruiser VX he drives. “My salary at the church is Sh40,000. The cars I drive belong to the ministry. The ministry pays for the house I live in. The VX was given to me by a prominent politician that I prayed for and he won an elective post he had been seeking.”
I cleared my throat, and asked about the elephant in the room: “Do you charge those who want to touch you Sh1,200? Do you charge Sh1,100 to tell people whether their names are in the Book of Life?”
Wahome takes a deep breathe, and leans forward, his eyes fixed on me, “My brother, that’s is a total lie. You are welcome to our sanctuary anytime. Come incognito, and see for yourself, ask the church members at random. I don’t do such things,” he says wearily. The allegations, he says, are the work of the devil. “Just like Catholics use rosaries and crucifix and instruments of prayer, I use holy water and anointing oil.” He explains that he has anointing water for businesses and for deliverance.
Your luck was stolen
“You can use the water to help your business flourish and also sprinkle on your child before he goes to school so that no harm can befall your child. Even David was anointed by Samuel and that why he managed to defeat Goliath, and your child faces many goliaths during the day,” adds Bishop Wahome. He says he can also restore luck, for those who have lost it.
“Some people are unlucky because your luck was stolen by someone else, I can pray and restore it back to you,” he claims.
But why does he charge Sh1,000 for those who want to book appointment to see him?
My church flies
“It is the governing council of the church that came up with that rule, although I see people whether they pay or not. And the money doesn’t come to me; it goes into church projects. Come to church and see how many widows, orphans and vulnerable people we support. They are so many, and we can’t give them spiritual food then let them hunger for real food,” says Bishop Wahome.
Helicopter of Christ Church was established in 2006. Why the odd name?
“God told Noah to build an ark to save people from destruction. But the Ark doesn’t move, it only floats, so God told me to name my church helicopter, because it flies,” he reveals.
Born and raised in Othaya, Bishop Wahome says he quit school due to financial constraints. “We were 11 children, and I left home for Nairobi in 2004 to look for work.”
His first job was as a watchman in Kahawa West at a salary of Sh2,800.
“I never complained about the cold, in fact, it helped me stay awake, sing and pray. Eventually, a tenant in the estate asked me if I could go work in his hardware. The new salary was Sh3,000 and I will get Sh20 every day for lunch. I agreed,” says the man of God. He, however, was fired after four months because he spent most of his time counseling and ministering to people.
“I then started selling boiled eggs. After selling three crates, I would then start preaching by the roadside in Kahawa.
Nuksi mchana yote
Eventually, I went to Kayole and opened the church. I gained prominence when I started using handkerchiefs to impart blessings, and moved the church to Kamukunji before finally moving to town.” Wahome has advice for men: “If you dream that you are making love to a woman, that’s a bad omen. You should seek prayers, or the next day utakuwa na kisirani mingi. When you leave your house in the morning, don’t leave your wife unhappy unless you want nuksi mchana yote!” he warns.
“Never beat your wife. I was pushed to the wall but I never laid a finger on my former wife. I have forgiven her, and I dutifully pay upkeep for the children,” he concludes.
When reached for comment, Wahome’s ex wife Leah Mueni snapped, “I am now happily married and I don’t want to talk about Wahome at all.”