Pastor Ezekiel Odero has suffered another setback in his evangelism journey after the police shut down a branch of his New Life Prayer Centre church in Kagayu, Nyeri County.
This branch, which had been in operation for just two weeks, faced police intervention when around 300 worshippers gathered for a church service.
According to lead preacher Martin David Manyasi, the police blocked the service, conducted a search of the church, and seized an undisclosed amount of money and offering envelopes.
The officers refused entry to the premises and demanded a gazette notice confirming the removal of Ezekiel’s church registration.
Pastor Ezekiel’s legal team regarded the closure as state harassment against their client.
Court suspends deregistration of Pastor Ezekiel’s church
On Tuesday, August 22, Pastor Ezekiel Odero obtained a court order suspending the directive to deregister his New Life Prayer Centre church.
This action came after the Registrar of Societies had issued a notice on August 18 to deregister Pastor Ezekiel’s church, along with four others.
Pastor Ezekiel Odero filed a fresh application at the High Court on August 21, withdrawing a previous application.
His legal team sought to prevent the Registrar of Societies from obstructing the operations of the New Life Prayer Centre and Church.
The Judge who issued the directive explained that he wanted to scrutinize whether due process had been followed in the deregistration of the church.
“Upon perusal of material placed before the court in support of the application, I am persuaded to exercise my discretion and allow the applicants to challenge the gazette notice dated August 18, 2023, whose purport is to deregister the society referred to as New Life Prayer Center and Church,” stated Justice Jairus Ngaah.
The government had cancelled the registrations of five churches, including Pastor Ezekiel’s, as part of a crackdown on religious institutions in the country.
Among these deregistered churches were Helicopter of Christ Church, Theophilus Church, Kings Outreach Church, and Goodnews International Ministries, the latter being associated with the Shakahola cult leader Paul Mackenzie, who was accused of misleading his church members into fasting to the point of death.