The man of God who filled Kasarani Stadium to the brim has become a sensation in Kenya. Pastor Ezekiel Odero has near fanatical followers spread across the region. He pulls worshippers to his crusades in Democratic Republic of Congo and Tanzania the same way he does in Kenya.
So who is this pastor of New Life Church? Here is what WoK has gathered about the man of the cloth.
He was born in Mbita, Homa Bay county. The pastor was raised by his sickly mother and maternal uncles.
The preacher was a student at Miwani High school. Then known as Eza, he would walk 28 km to school on opening days. According to the Nairobian, he was a staunch Seventh Day Adventist who cast aspersions on those who worshiped on Sundays.
“He liked to engage in endless debates to castigate those who worshiped on Sunday. We were shocked to learn that he started a church that worships on Sunday,” the tabloid quoted the pastor’s classmate.
The student who scored a mean grade of C- (minus) in the KCSE exams is remembered for fighting to be given a chance to sing SDA songs during Sunday worship.
“One thing that the 1999 and 2000 classes in Miwani High School can remember about Eza is how hard he fought for a chance to sing SDA songs during the Sunday worship in school,” he added.
What surprises his classmates is how he mastered Kiswahili having been poor in the subject. His highest score in the subject was a D+ (Plus) but he has gone on to be one of the best preachers in a language he struggled with.
“…..The highest score he ever got in that subject (Kiswahili) was a D+. It is a miracle how he has been able to master that language,” a classmate shared.
Eza was a good footballer playing number seven. His school reached the 1999 National Games but could not proceed due to financial constraints leading them to pass the spot to second run-up Kokoru Boys High from Migori. Among the players who did not have the chance to represent their school at the highest level of the competition was Ezekiel.
Cutting ties with classmates
The pastor has no time for his former classmates. Eza has always ‘lefted’ the school WhatsApp group everytime he is added.
“Whenever we add him to our WhatsApp group, he says hi, sends a laughing emoji, and leaves”
For beginners, New Life Church relocated to Mavueni, Kilifi County from Shanzu in Mombasa in 2022. There are conflicting reports on what led to his decision to move to their current location. According to a section of his followers, the move was necessitated after their pastor received death threats. While others claim he moved to Mavueni to fight witchcraft.
The church, a hotel and guest houses stand on a 650-acre of land. Pastor Ezekiel Odero sells holy white handkerchiefs, water and oil to his followers.
His crusades are mammoth- drawing worshippers from different parts of the country. He abhors divorce and is known for not stomaching mipango ya kando. This has made his services very attractive to married women.
In his sermons, he makes it clear that women should not leave their matrimonial homes regardless of the situation. He has warned women against traveling out of the country and leave their husband as these is a contributor to the high number of divorces in the country.
Marriage and children
Pastor Ezekiel Odero is married to Pastor Sarah, who is a Chonyi by tribe. She hails from Mavueni. They have three children, a boy and two girls aged 14, 15 and 16.