Omari, Ombeta: Pastor Ezekiel's issues due to jealousy and revenge

Omari, Ombeta and Nyaberi on Saturday said there is religious, political and business witch-hunt against their client


• Ezekiel, they said, has set the standards so high that it has made many people jealous and now they want to bring him down.

• Omari alleged plans to take the pastor to the ICC so that some people could take the massive complex sitting on more than 300-acres of land.

Azimio leader Raila Odinga with Pastor Ezekiel Odero inside the preacher's mansion in Kilifi County on Saturday, May 6, 2023.

Pastor Ezekiel Odero's woes are a result of jealousy, revenge and bitterness from both state officers and fellow clergymen, his lawyers now claim.

Advocates Danstan Omari, Cliff Ombeta and Sam Nyaberi on Saturday claimed there is a religious, political and business witch-hunt against their client.

Ezekiel, they said, has set the standards so high that it has made many people jealous and now they want to bring him down.

“The government is out to close this place. This is a war against Christianity. This is war against the standards set by pastor Ezekiel,” Omari said at the church complex.

Omari alleged plans to take the pastor to the ICC so that some people could take the massive complex sitting on more than 300-acres of land in Mavueni, Kilifi county.

“If anybody is salivating to take over this property, you are cheated,” he said.

The three made an extensive tour of the complex, taking measurements of the premises and interviews from the workers who are on different construction sites.

They also interviewed faithful who had gone for the Meza ya Bwana (The Lord’s Table) service.

The lawyers spent more than six hours in the service to keenly listen to Ezekiel’s preaching to find out if there is any aspect of radicalisation.

“We have heard nothing of that sought,” Omari said.

The lawyer said the man of cloth has set standards that other men of cloth have not been able to get close to and are now using different tactics to bring him down.

“Those pastors, bishops and reverends, those who have churches, more than 3,000 of them in Kenya, how do they use the offerings they get from their flock?” Omari posed.

Anyone can see how any shilling that comes to Ezekiel is being utilised, the lawyer noted.

He said churches must be able to account for the monies they receive from their followers.

Pastor Ezekiel, he said, pays school fees for more than 100 children across the country.

The local community in Mavueni, where the church is located, has had two dams built so they can get access to water during drought.

The church has built modern housing units for its staff inside the premises and has other units that guests from around the world can use when they visit for spiritual nourishing.

Pastor Ezekiel has also built an international school and is also putting up a mall, a petrol station, a restaurant, an airstrip, and a university, among other amenities.

This will open up Mavueni, according to the lawyers.

Sam Nyaberi, who represents Pastor Ezekiel in the Milimani Court, said he toured the church to get a feel of the premise and its activities.

“So that when we make submissions in court we make submissions which are based on firsthand information,” Nyaberi said.

The lawyer said Ezekiel has ploughed back what he gets from the worshippers into the church and the surrounding community.

He said more than 3,000 workers in the complex have been affected by the orders that froze the church’s 15 bank accounts.

“We are now going to submit to court afresh based on what I have seen because we were submitting on a point of just being informed of what is happening,” Nyaberi said.

The advocate, who also spent six hours during the Meza ya Bwana service at the church, said he never heard of any preaching that could qualify as radicalisation.

“I listened to the preaching. I listened to the way Ezekiel is handling his matters. I listened to the interactions that he’s had with the faithful. I must admit that it is above board,” Nyaberi said.

He urged other religious institutions to be as meticulous as the New Life Prayer Centre and Church.

“Here there is value for money,” Nyaberi said.

Ombeta said the pastor’s institution is the epitome of accountability and transparency.

He said the commission of inquiry and the task force that have been set up by President William Ruto to look into the activities of religious institutions must use the New Life Prayer Centre and Church to set the standards by which religious institutions must be governed.

He said those who have been told stories about pastor Ezekiel’s church need to visit the church and see for themselves.

“Come and see what one year and one month can do and then look at other churches and ask them what have they been doing or rather, where have they been?” Ombeta said.

The Mavueni church complex was founded in April 2022.

“We have seen people who have been in tents all their lives, for years, and they have been preaching to us. But do you see any impact?” he posed.

“It’s a question we need to ask because we are being told about commissions and they are going to come round and going to regulate churches, but we are going to ask them by which standards? Whose standards?

“Because if this church is not a standard then there is no standard,” Ombeta said.

He said if the rains stop for the next four years, the people in Mavueni and Kilifi at large will have water from the two dams built by pastor Ezekiel.

Last Wednesday, Registrar of Societies Jane Joram told senators that the office domiciled under the Office of Attorney General had written two show cause notices to the New Life Prayer Centre and Church on why it should not be deregistered.

Among other accusations she made against Pastor Ezekiel’s church is failing to file returns since 2012.

However, on Thursday, a Kenya Revenue Authority document confirmed that the church has been filing tax returns, clearing doubt about its compliance with the law. 

On Saturday, Omari said the conceited effort to link Pastor Ezekiel to the controversial Good News International Church preacher Paul Mackenzie should stop.

Pastor Mackenzie is behind the Shakahola tragedy where more than 200 bodies of people said to be his followers have been exhumed after they allegedly starved to death.

Omari said Pastor Ezekiel’s church is over 200km away from Mackenzie’s.

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