Police stop Pastor Ezekiel's planned Kilifi crusade

Pastor Ezekiel Odero of the New Life International Ministry.

Pastor Ezekiel Odero of the New Life International Ministry.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

Police in Kilifi have stopped a planned evangelical crusade by preacher Ezekiel Odero of the New Life International Ministry.

The crusade was to be held at the Kwa Kenga wa Mupa farm in Basi junction along the Kilifi-Malindi Highway.

Confirming the matter, Kilifi North Sub County Police Commander Kenneth Maina said the preacher did not inform the police about his planned crusade in time.

"We could not allow Pastor Ezekiel to hold his crusade because he informed us within a short notice. It is required that you inform the police within 72 hours, but he will hold his meeting next week," he said.

Mr Maina said the crusade was to start on Wednesday.

"He had requested for five days and the crusade to start on Wednesday, so he will still do it for the same period," he added.

This week, a group of people had already started cleaning the farm in preparation for the crusade.

Later on, trucks dispatched tents and chairs.

However, on Tuesday, a source who sought anonymity for lack of authority to comment on the matter told Nation.Africa that Pastor Ezekiel announced to his followers that the crusade would not happen as some visitors from abroad had not arrived, “and we would wait until they come. But he said the crusade would continue once they arrive”.

Already, a congregation had started to arrive for the crusade.

By Wednesday evening, the tents were being loaded back into waiting vehicles to be taken back to his Newlife International Church Centre in Mavueni.

This is not the first time that the preacher, who attracts large crowds from across the country and internationally, has been barred from holding a crusade after the state linked him to controversial preacher Paul Mackenzie, who is in detention over the Shakahola deaths.

In June, the Interior ministry prevented him from holding a crusade in Machakos. A month later, a similar meeting was stopped by authorities in Arusha, Tanzania.