Mavueni, Kilifi – Azimio leader Raila Odinga has publicly supported controversial televangelist Pastor Ezekiel Odero, currently under investigation for numerous crimes. Odinga visited Pastor Ezekiel’s New Life Prayer Centre and Church in Mavueni, expressing surprise at the allegations against the pastor and asserting that he saw no evidence of criminal activity at the massive worship center.
On Saturday, May 6th, Odinga toured the expansive New Life Prayer Centre, which can accommodate 50,000 congregants, and voiced his support for Pastor Ezekiel’s charitable endeavors. He pledged to revisit the church and continue backing the pastor’s initiatives.
Despite a verbal closure order issued by Coast Regional Coordinator Rhoda Onyancha during his arrest on Thursday, April 27th, Pastor Ezekiel conducted a service at his church on Sunday, May 7th. Police attempted to deter worshippers from entering the premises, but attorneys Danstan Omari and Cliff Ombeta insisted there was no valid court order prohibiting the service. The church was soon filled to capacity, with Pastor Ezekiel leading the congregation as usual.
On Thursday, May 4th, the embattled preacher was released on a cash bail of KSh 1.5 million and a bond of KSh 3 million with an equivalent surety amount. Shanzu Law Courts Senior Principal Magistrate Joe Omido rejected the State’s application to detain him for an additional 30 days, citing insufficient material evidence. The pastor is required to report to a police station once a week or as mandated by the State.
Pastor Ezekiel faces a myriad of charges, including murder, aiding suicide, abduction, radicalization, genocide, crimes against humanity, child cruelty, fraud, money laundering, and complicity in criminal activity. The presiding judge, Olga Sewe, certified his application to reopen the church as urgent on Thursday, May 5th, and directed Pastor Ezekiel to serve the State with his documents in anticipation of the hearing on Monday, May 8th.