By Prudence Minayo
Bishop Margaret Wanjiru is a household name thanks to her successful ministry and stint as an elected member of parliament. The woman of clothe has one of the biggest churches in the country, Jesus Is Alive Ministries (JIAM). Margaret did not have an easy start to her life. Everything she has now is a product of a lot of hardwork and resilience. Her story is a good example that your past does not determine the future. The future is in your hands if only you believe and work hard.
Yesterday, according to various sources, the Reverend was diagnosed with Covid-19. She got it after hosting a gathering of 18 people, 8 of whom have tested positive for the virus. People can only wish both her and every other patient quick recovery and this should serve as a lesson that anybody could be a carrier of the disease so maintaining social distance if possible should be a priority.
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Away from the sad news, here is a brief biography about Margaret Wanjiru and her journey to becoming a renowned Kenyan preacher and politician.
She was born on the 22nd of December 1961.
The bishop put herself through primary, high school and college. She has a Doctorate in Divinity excelling in the matters of religion, education and human sciences. The minister also has a certificate on governance from Harvard University, USA.
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The accomplished Evangelist was born in Nairobi in an impoverished family. She was brought up by a single mother who worked as a domestic worker for a white man. They lived in the servants quarters and did not have much in terms of material possessions.
The Reverend is also a mother to three children, two boys and a daughter. Steven Kariuki (a politician), Evans Kariuki and Purity Kariuki.
The founder of JIAM came from an impoverished background. One day, she came home and found the usual meal, githeri and avocado served as usual. She was tired of it and thought there must be more to life than this. This prompted her to do odd jobs to take her through school. Her first child was born before she could complete high school but she pressed on. However, the child meant one more mouth to feed and her mother’s home was no longer an option.
Luckily, she got a job as a maid. Unfortunately, she became pregnant again while still in her bosses’ house. This made them kick her out as one child they could tolerate but two was a deal breaker. She ended up in the streets hawking earrings. One day, a gentleman driving stopped and asked why such a young girl was hawking. Margaret said it was because she had no choice since she had one baby and another on the way. The man gave her his card and told her to visit his office where she was offered a toilet cleaning job that she gladly agreed to do. In fact, at the time this was like hitting the jackpot .
While at the company, she rose through the ranks until she got to a big position. First, she started cleaning the office and washing cars while still going to college. Upon her graduation, she became a sales girl and by the time she left the company she was a sales and marketing executive.
At a young age, Margaret and her sister visited a church, told the pastor they wanted to get saved and he told them they were too young. Each of them drifted away from God and went about living a worldly life. In a past interview with KTN, she reveals that she was a satanist. When she wanted to give her life to God, the satanist leader told her that if she did then she’d die within 6 days but Margaret said this made her even more determined to receive salvation.
Finally, the opportunity presented itself when she attended a crusade and the pastor called her out from the crowd. The first time she ran away but the second time she didn’t get the chance.
“….this time he called me out and he said to the ushers go bring her she is there…. I was wearing a pink skirt and a light blue blouse, and he said she’s that one with the pink skirt and a light blue blouse. You know I wanted to go under, so the ushers come for me…..” said the reverend during part of the interview.
This began her journey into salvation. She told God she wanted to preach his word. Six months after getting saved, she quit her job and became a street preacher which got her into a lot of trouble with the police and city council officials. However, she did not stop preaching until she started her own ministry called Jesus is Alive Ministries (JIAM). JIAM is a very big ministry with church branches in Kenya and beyond.
The woman of cloth decided to take a plunge into politics in 2007. She vied for the Starehe Member of Parliament seat and won. In 2008, she was appointed to the cabinet as an assistant Minister for housing. In 2013, she announced she would be vying for the Nairobi gubernatorial seat under the Cord ticket only for her nomination to be refused due to problems pertaining to her papers. In an interview with Citizen TV, she says that there was foul play in order to prevent her from running for governorship. However, she was selected to vie for senator of Nairobi which she did but lost to Mike Sonko.
Later, she defected to Jubilee party and ran for party elections with Mike Sonko who were both vying for the Nairobi gubernatorial seat. Mike Sonko won the party primaries and went in to become the governor of Nairobi county.
In 2007, she was set to marry pastor Samuel Matjeke from South Africa. James Kamangu Ndimu filed proceedings against them with one of the declarations being that there exists a marriage by presumption of law between him and Margaret Wanjiru. The court thus barred the ceremony from taking place.
While working at the lands ministry, there were allegations that the top ministry officials were involved in fraudulent allocation of land. An allegation she refused to comment on during her interview with Citizen TV’s series at the time called Newsmakers.
On April 26th 2017, media houses announced that she had been arrested after storming City Park Polling station and allegedly causing chaos. She claimed that the nominations were favoring one candidate.
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