'I have never set foot in Shakahola nor worked with Paul Makenzi,' says Pastor Ezekiel

New Life Prayer Center and Church lead pastor Ezekiel Odero before the Senate Ad Hoc Committee. [Boniface Okendo]

Pastor Ezekiel Odero, of New Life Prayer Centre and Church, has distanced himself from the Shakahola massacre, stating his church has never indoctrinated any of its followers.

Appearing before the Senate AdHoc Committee probing the Shakahola deaths on Friday, October 13, 2023, Odero who was accompanied by his lawyers, denied ever setting foot in Shakahola, Kilifi County.

" I don't know where Shakahola is. I only saw it on TV and was shocked at what was happening. Did the police not establish what was really happening in the area considering the mass graves found?" Odero posed.

The New Life Prayer Centre preacher also claimed he has never worked with controversial preacher Paul Makenzi, who is the main suspect in the massacre of over 400 people in Shakahola forest.

"I first came to know about Paul Makenzi on TV. I wanted to be on TV so I looked for him. He offered to sell me his TV station sometime in 2021, which I paid partially but later bought my own TV station. That is how I came to know him and that is all I know about him," he said.

Asked about his 'unexplained wealth', the pastor said that what he owns including his wrist watch comes from offerings by his over 45,000 congregants.

"We have constructed the best modern swimming pool, a well-equipped laboratory and stadium in Kilifi. All these were enabled by our followers not me," Odero said.

At the time, Ezekiel who appeared before the Danson Mungatana-led committee, faulted what he termed as a blanket condemnation of preachers in Kenya, but said the government should crack the whip on rogue pastors.

"In my ministry, I preach live but use recorded programmes at night. I do that because it makes it easier for someone to ask questions about what I preach. I also do it for the government to listen to what I preach and know what I stand for," he added.

The committee that is investigating deaths in the Shakahola massacre is expected to release its report on Thursday, October 19.

By AFP 17 hrs ago
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