What you need to know:
- Excommunicated from the Catholic Church in 1971, he founded the Holy Ghost Coptic Church of Africa on the outskirts of Kisumu on Kakamega Road.
- He said he has received death threats over the visit to Sugoi from people who think he received money from the deputy president.
As he settled down to address the press in Kisumu following his gaffe during his visit to Deputy President William Ruto’s home in Sugoi, an aide knelt down to hand Fr John Pesa I his reading glasses.
It may have looked odd for some but it is the routine inside the walls of the Holy Ghost Coptic Church of Africa where he is feared and revered by his followers, but constantly breeds controversy.
Excommunicated from the Catholic Church in 1971, he founded the Holy Ghost Coptic Church of Africa on the outskirts of Kisumu on Kakamega Road. The Catholic World Report of May 11, 2011 characterised his church alongside Legio Maria as “unclassifiable sects” and described the man as of “imposing size ….flamboyant and often funny, but unmistakably authoritative”. Members of his church are not allowed to drive their cars into the church precincts. One might mistake the church for personal property.
“I did not want to leave the Roman Catholic Church, but the church leaders said I should not be accepted back,” he told the Nation in a 2014 interview.
Whether it is about having armed police to protect him round-the-clock besides tens of ordinary security guards, to claiming to have the power to spiritually cleanse people with mental illnesses, some of whom he chains, Fr Pesa I who heads the Holy Ghost Coptic Church of Africa has always been controversial.
Mentally ill patients
It has been claimed that he chains the mentally ill patients. Though he has denied this in the past saying that only those who are violent are restrained.
He once claimed healing a relative of former President Jomo Kenyatta after which the country’s founding president reportedly allowed him to register his church.
It is his latest Bible gaffe that has been ridiculed on social media platforms for claiming that it was King Solomon, and not David, who killed Goliath in the Bible, which has now thrust him to the limelight – again. As he got ridiculed on mainstream and social media, he surfaced to claim that he had been given a raw deal by fellow clergy with whom they visited DP Ruto only to turn around later to say there was no money in the first place.
He said he has received death threats over the visit to Sugoi from people who think he received money from the deputy president.
“Ruto is a hustler and has no money. He did not give me money," he said.
In Kisumu where Father Pesa is based, whenever he steps out of the walled compound of the Holy Ghost Coptic Church of Africa, he attracts a lot of attention, which he loves.
One time he decided to walk from his church to the CBD and caused a major traffic jam in a town that hardly experiences congestion.
He walked surrounded by armed police and private security guards as his followers and onlookers joined in the walk.