What you need to know:
- Mr Wekesa, who has been undergoing grilling by detectives in Bungoma since Tuesday, presented himself to the police in the morning as usual, oblivious of what awaited him.
- The police asked the court to allow them to detain Mr Wekesa for seven days for further investigations and interrogation.
- The ruling will be delivered on Friday.
‘Yesu wa Tongaren’, real name Eliud Wekesa, the leader of New Jerusalem Church in Bungoma County, will spend Thursday night in police custody ahead of a court ruling on his fate amid investigations into alleged cult activities.
Mr Wekesa, who has been undergoing grilling by detectives in Bungoma since Tuesday, presented himself to the police in the morning as usual, oblivious of what awaited him.
He was rushed to court at around 10am but had to wait until 3.10pm for his case to be presented to Principal Magistrate Tom Mark Olando.
Mr Wekesa, dressed in a red gown and with a bag hanging over his right shoulder, sat pensively in the courtroom, reading his Bible as he awaited proceedings in his case.
He is accused of running a religious cult in Tongaren, purporting to be Jesus Christ, teaching radical ideologies to his followers, some of whom are minors, as well as practising and promoting money laundering.
The police asked the court to allow them to detain Mr Wekesa for seven days for further investigations and interrogation.
Elijah Macharia, the Bungoma County director of criminal investigations, said they wanted more time to take the accused for a psychiatric assessment to ascertain his mental status.
Mr Macharia, in a sworn affidavit, claimed the accused refused to undergo the checks.
The police further requested the court to grant them a search warrant for Mr Wekesa’s house and place of worship.
They also argued that he would interfere with witnesses if released from their custody.
Mr Wekesa's lawyer Wamalwa Simiyu objected to the request to detain his client, faulting the police for arresting and arraigning him without conducting proper investigations.
"My client has been running his church with the full knowledge of the police, who have not had issues with him. The police are supposed to arrest someone if they have enough evidence to arrest him. It is becoming a bad culture … police are arresting people without any evidence only to ask for more time from the court to solicit evidence," said Mr Simiyu.
The lawyer further said his client was innocent and that the police were dragging his church into the Shakahola deaths in Kilifi County, of followers of cult leader Paul Mackenzie.
He told the court that the accused was a law abiding citizen, which he said was proven when he presented himself to the police for three consecutive days for investigations.
Mr Simiyu asked the court to grant his client a free bond saying he had nothing to hide.
Mr Olando reserved the ruling for 10am on Friday.
Speaking as he moved to the court cell, Mr Wekesa said he won't relent in his missionary work. He cited Biblical leaders such as King David, whom he noted went through similar challenges.