By Prudence Minayo
Many have dubbed him the fake Kenyan pastor. He calls himself the ‘chief commander’ and controversy seems to be his middle name. Pastor James Maina Ng’ang’a has for a long time been making headlines for his antics both inside and outside his church. On many occasions, he is seen abusing members of his congregation yet they still flock to church every Sunday. At one time, he ridiculed a woman for wearing tattered shoes to his church. He leads with the chin and makes no apologies for it.
Ng’ang’a was born in 1954 and didn’t have an easy ride. At the age of 18, he was already on the wrong side of the law leading to his first arrest. From then, he became a jailbird and was detained in a few prisons with Shimo La Tewa being one of them. While in prison, James gave his life to Christ and became a street preacher in the 1990s upon his release from prison.
The former jailbird started as a street preacher in Mombasa before moving to Nairobi. He founded Neno Evangelism Ministry in 1992 while still in Mombasa before moving to Nairobi. He left the Mombasa ministry under Bishop Wafula. In 2005, he built his first church in Nairobi. The ministry has grown and has branches in several parts of the country today making Ng’ang’a a household name.
A typical Sunday in the church involves a long sermon followed by deliverance service. In the latter, the apostle is seen praying for people and casting out demons as he slaps the possessed sometimes. After deliverance, the people give testimonies of how they feel much better and are healed and so on. He is also the only one allowed to wear shoes to the altar, the rest have to take their shoes off.
The man of cloth has been making headlines for all the wrong reasons. With him, it is one scandal after the other. It seems the more money he gets, the more arrogant egotistical he becomes. Some of his well known scandals are:
In 2016, a family was plunged into mourning. Their loved one, Mercy Njeri, killed and her husband fighting life altering injuries all because of careless driving. Witnesses report that the man of God was behind the wheel of one of the cars that caused the accident. Despite the account, he walked away a free man with reports claiming he wasn’t at the accident scene.
A businessman once accused the televangelist of conning him 5.5 million and yet again he walked away Scot free. He presented himself at Central police station then bailed himself out later that day. This incident saw him dress in sack-cloth and apparently heading to Kajiado for prayers as he urged people to humble themselves.
In 2012, the rich pastor got married to his second wife, Murugi, in a lavish invite only ceremony held at the Windsor Golf Club. The ceremony was attended by close family and friends and politicians, such as Kalonzo Musyoka. The marital bliss did not last long and months later, the wife was asking for a divorce. She accused Ng’ang’a of infidelity and physical abuse. Murugi demanded a child upkeep of 535,000 Kenyan shillings every month saying the pastor can afford it. However, they resolved their conflict and got back together.
Last year, the scandalous pastor went on a rant and warned his church members against disrespecting his wife, not even his bishops were spared. Any lady that disrespected the wife was told to leave the ministry. The bishops were called stupid, arrogant and rubbish. They were told they came to Neno Evangelist poor and in tattered clothes and Ng’ang’a made them rich. He even went further to tell them that they should answer when he sneezes. This saw his longest serving bishop Wafula exit the ministry.
The man of God has done it again by saying he can cure covid-19. He first mocked the government when they claimed preparedness in fighting the pandemic yet more developed nations have failed. Now, he says he can cure it;
“ If only the government of Kenya, actually the world would allow me. And bring me the covid-19 patients, we try God, because God has said we try him. I enclose myself with them, as long as they believe, in a house…then take a guitar and sing a song with my people. I will not even lay hands on them. You will see what God is capable of doing…”
The scandalous man of God seems to be rolling in money. Apart from owning a very big church, he lives a lavish lifestyle and drives expensive cars and below are things he allegedly owns:
- Neno Evangelism Ministry. The ministry which was started in 1992 has several branches. It is reported to be worth millions of Kenyan shillings.
- Sunny Hill Hotel. The 4 star hotel is located along Nakuru-Nairobi road. The multi million hotel offers services like: concert hosting, steam room, sauna, children’s playground, yoga room and bridal suites.
- Range Rover sports. The car was reported to cause an accident that led to serious casualties. It costs not less than 8 million.
- Car selling business. The preacher has a business that sells used cars. He says it is through this business that he was able to build his first church in Nairobi.
- House in Karen. The two-storey house elegant and stylish and worth millions. It was reported that robbers stole Ksh.500,00 Tom the house in 2015.
It is also believed the preacher owns a Mercedes E 200, Toyota harrier and a Toyota Land cruiser, each worth millions of Kenyan shillings.