Bishop JJ Gitahi: From Class 8 Dropout To Millionaire Gospel Minister

Bishop JJ Gitahi is perhaps the most firebrand Kikuyu preachers of all time. He is a seasoned media personality, counselor, musician, MC, businessman, and gospel minister.

From a class 8 dropout to becoming one of the richest gospel ministers in Kenya, this is his story as told by WoK:


JJ, whose full name is Jesse Gitahi Maina, was born in Olkalou, Nyandarua County. He is the 9th born among 11 siblings. His mother worked as a casual laborer. Not much is known about his father, as he rarely speaks of him.

JJ attended Kaibaga primary school, where he performed dismally. “Being from a poor background, I had no role model to inspire me to work hard in school,” he explained in an interview.

The school was also overcrowded, so it was hard for teachers to keep track of learners.

It was not until he reached class 4 that he transferred to Kandutura Primary School, which was nearer home. At the new school, his performance improved as the school had fewer learners and teachers could better monitor them.

However, he was often at home for lack of school fees, which was a mere 30 shillings at the time. This did not stop him from performing well in his KCPE.

Moving to Nairobi

After class 8, JJ did not proceed to high school. Instead, an influential village tycoon took him to Nairobi to work on construction sites. His salary was sh 57 per day.

After some altercation with his employer, he was fired and went back to the village with only 80 shillings between him and poverty.

At home, he teamed up with a friend and used his savings to start a butchery. However, the business floundered within a few months when his business partner lost all the capital in a gambling venture.

His next venture was borrowing sh 100 from his mother, which he used to start selling chickens. After some time, he quit the business when competition increased.

He then borrowed more money from his mother and moved to Nyahururu, where he worked as a lorry turn boy. He was paid 40 shillings, which he used as fare to travel to Murang’a.


In Murang’a, a series of serendipitous events unfolded. Hosted by his brother, Gitahi’s evangelist talent came into play when he started attending local churches.

There, he made such an impression that he was adopted by a church member. His life changed as the new benefactor was a bit well off. Now he had a roof under his head and was sure of three meals a day.

He was soon introduced to the late ‘Queen Jane’, the famous Kikuyu secular musician.

JJ began recording songs under Queen Jane’s band. This close association with the queen of secular music earned him recognition from the who-and-whos of the Kikuyu entertainment industry.

First car

Gitahi’s musical career did not take off as well as he had expected. Consequently, he moved to Nairobi and used his evangelical talent to start his own church. After a few months, he was involved in a scandal and was kicked out of his church by congregants.

In his search for stability, he explored various avenues, including photography and cassette sales, before a chance opportunity at a high-profile burial ceremony changed the course of his life.

One day, he presided over the burial of popular Kikuyu comedian ‘Nyengese’, in an event that was televised on KBC. His captivating sermon at the burial caught the attention of Kigia wa Esther, the renowned Kikuyu hitmaker.

Kigia hired him as a preacher in his studio, recording preachings in cassettes and selling them. His salary was sh 70,000 – a fortune at the time. JJ used his first salary to purchase new clothes, a TV set, and a Peugeot 302.

Radio career

In 2002, Gitahi founded his now famous Priesthood Fellowship church, located in Kahawa West.

One day, while presiding over a wedding, Inooro FM boss Zulu Thiongo spotted his oratory talent and hired him at Inooro FM as a radio presenter, hosting the steamy ‘Hutia Mundu’ midnight show.

After some time, the two fell out over political affiliations and Gitahi moved to Kameme FM, where he worked for four years.

Business Ventures

Aside from his ministry, JJ Gitahi is a multifaceted individual. He’s a successful businessman, owning companies such as Githima TV, a real estate company, and Topaz Driving School.

His children have also made their mark – one as a European footballer and the other as a lawyer. Moreover, he holds qualifications as a trained psychologist and a licensed family counselor.