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Inside Pastor Ezekiel Odero's multi-million empire

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Ezekiel Odero, a fisherman turned preacher has had a rising profile over the last few years with Google placing his net worth at over Sh1 billion.

Though born into poverty, the televangelist has grown his wealth, building a mega-church in Kilifi from ground-up, and several other businesses.

Ezekiel, who was born in Rusinga Island, Homa Bay County started serving the church 15 years ago as an understudy and keyboard player at the Miracle Maximum Centre under renowned televangelist Pius Muiru in Mombasa.

Ezekiel then decided to start his own ministry at New Life Prayer Centre in Mavueni, Kilifi County.

It is there in Mavueni that Ezekiel built an "empire" for his followers on a 65-acre piece of land.

From the gate, one might mistake the center for State House, because of the many flags present, representing different countries around the world.

Before you get to the church, a huge parking lot welcomes you. The parking can hold up to 2,000 cars. There is also a helipad which is still under construction.

At the parking lot, the first thing one notices is the church which occupies at least six acres of land. The church can seat about 40,000 people and comes with a restaurant for his congregants.

Ten buses that belong to the church sit pretty at the parking.

Pastor Ezekiel during a church service at New Life Prayer Centre. [New Life TV]

Opposite the church is a white-storey lavatory that covers a good chunk of land.

Not far from the church is a business center where one building houses several shops and another one for banking services.

As you go round the "city", you find a primary and secondary school each with six streams.

Ezekiel has also built a massive servant quarter for his church staff and an operational clinic. Some of these facilities are still under construction.

As part of his empire, the pastor has a YouTube channel that has close to 450,000 subscribers.

During one of his sermons, Pastor Ezekiel, who now faces criminal charges over his alleged involvement in the Kilifi cult, showcased hundreds of goats that he claimed were brought as a thanksgiving token by some of his followers.

Despite all that, other parts of the 65-acre piece of land remain unused.

Many now question his source of wealth and influence. However, those who have seen him rise are not quick to judge. To them, he is a man from a humble background who worked for years as a mason in Mombasa and later built his empire, during his come-up.

Ezekiel Odero has never attended any theological school. However, he is known for his opulence and will to amass large crowds he commands at his church both in Mombasa and other parts of the country.

The pastor was an instant talk of the town when in November last year pulled a huge crowd for a crusade at the Kasarani Stadium, with a 60,000-sitting capacity

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