Pastor Ezekiel Odero of the New Life Church in Kilifi County has been arrested as the police continue probing the Malindi-based Kilifi Cult associated with Pastor Paul Nthenge Mackenzie.
The arrest of Pastor Ezekiel comes days after the arrest of Pastor Mackenzie for allegedly indoctrinating the members of his Good International Church and convincing them to fast to death. Pastor Ezekiel was arrested because the police suspect that he is linked to Paul Mackenzie.
Pastor Ezekiel’s arrest was confirmed by the Coastal regional coordinator Rhoda Onyancha at Mavueni where the New Life Church is situated. Onyancha also said that that the church has been closed as investigations begin.
The pastor is held by the police on the suspicion that he is working with Kilifi Cult leader Paul Nthenge Mackenzie. However, he is also facing criticisms of his own due to the dubious way he runs his prayer center in Malindi.
After the pastor’s arrest, his wife, Sarah Odero, said that it is time for the church to pray. Sarah took to the podium to announce to the church what had happened and said they would not hold services for the next few days to allow for investigations.
Interior Cabinet Secretary Prof Kithure Kindiki confirmed the arrest of Pastor Ezekiel on his twitter account, adding that hundreds of congregants in the New Life Prayer Center have been evacuated and are being queried by the police.
“It is notified for information of the general public that today Thursday, 27th April 2023, Mr. Ezekiel Ombok Odero the Head of New Life Prayer Centre/Church at Mavueni within Malindi Sub-County of Kilifi County has been arrested and is being processed to face criminal charges related to mass killing of his followers.
“The said Church has been shut down. The over 100 people who were holed up at the premises have been evacuated and will be required to record statements,” Kindiki said.
Ezekiel has been accused of letting people die without proper medication as he promises prayers and ointment to be the only solution to their diseases.
The fasting cult was recently exposed as bodies of children who starved to death were discovered at Shakahola village.
Due to the similarity between the teachings and preaching styles of the two pastors, Ezekiel has come under the radar of government officials. Netizens have also been commenting about the pastor since the arrest of Paul Mackenzie.
In fact, it is believed that Pastor Mackenzie is the student of Ezekiel of Odero.
Pastor Ezekiel became prominent in 2022 when he organized a successful mega church service at the Moi Sports Center Kasarani. The 60,000-capacity stadium was filled with followers who were eager to listen to listen to the pastor’s preaching.
Despite the huge following, many continue to question Ezekiel’s miracles.
Deputy President’s wife Pastor Dorcas Gachagua has been put on the spotlight for attending the Kasarani service in 2022.
Pastor Ezekiel also has a highly influential presence on the internet, posting his services on video-sharing platforms, and in December 2022, YouTube listed him as the second top Kenyan video creator on their platform. He also owns a TV station where he airs his services and videos of the miracles he performs.
In February 2023, Pastor Ezekiel once again made headlines with a generous donation of Sh6.6 million toward the education of less privileged high school students in Kilifi.