Bishop Godfrey Migwi, an MP aspirant for Mathioya Constituency on a United Democratic Alliance (UDA) ticket, has passed away.
His death was announced by his cousin Peter Munge, who said: “We have lost our brother and spiritual leader to blood pressure.”
Bishop Migwi taught Bible study on Kameme FM for the past eight years and he had started introducing himself as psychologist from Mount Kenya University and a religion and political analyst on BBC Swahili radio.
Fondly referred to as ‘Sonko Migwi’ in his native Mathioya, he had erected huge billboards announcing his intention to unseat incumbent MP Peter Kimari in next year’s polls and had become a routine critic of President Uhuru Kenyatta.
Deputy President William Ruto was among the first to send their condolences to Bishop Migwi’s family, describing him as a friend, an ally and a fellow believer in the Holy Trinity.
Bid for Mathioya seat
When he launched his bid for the Mathioya seat on May 4, he said: “The people of Mathioya need change and I know what it takes to provide that change. I have lived amongst them…we share the same itch for good service delivery oriented legislative agenda…”
Others who mourned him as a nice, generous and committed servant of God were Kiharu MP Ndindi Nyoro and Naivasha MP Jayne Kihara.
Reformed bank robber John Kiriamiti, who was involved in the bishop’s humanitarian activities in Mathioya, mourned him as a “wonderful family man…a father of four and a disciplinarian.”
He said the bishop’s love for humanity was infectious, had radical traits about leadership and set expectations high.
His harsh public declarations against President Kenyatta and Jubilee made him lose evangelism airtime on various radio stations associated with the government.
Donned for the eye
His political coordinator in Murang’a, Ms Alice Njeri, said Bishop Migwi “loved the good trappings of life…he loved his physical show and would don for the eye…There was a day he said his wardrobe alone was worth Sh20 million and could stand as collateral for a bank loan”.
Ms Njeri mused that the bishop was a perennial victim of harassment from women who thought he was a looker.
“He used to joke a lot about the issue. He would sometimes show us messages of the harassment of women begging for his seed, saying they loved his looks…He was so true to his wife and would use the messages to taunt her on how lucky she was to have him,” she said.
Murang’a Senator Irungu Kang’ata described him as “a man of God whose journey to stardom started 24 years ago when he founded the House of Hope Church in Nairobi, preaching in Kariobangi before moving to Kayole some four years ago and built a modern sanctuary”.
The modern church in Kayole has a capacity for 5,000 people and Bishop Migwi had publicly said it had consumed Sh50 million with a Sh100 million expansion expected by 2030 to accommodate a primary and secondary school.
Political commentator Wahome Thuku eulogised him as a man of God who will be remembered for his “nasty sermons about the President, Raila Odinga and the founding father of the nation, Mzee Jomo Kenyatta”.
He said: “Nothing about any souls he led to Christ or sick families he prayed for, nothing about suffering children he gave hope, nothing about evangelism…this is what happens when the men and women of the cloth decide to preach the world instead of the true gospel.”
The bishop was also a musician who won the 2014 Mwafaka Award as the best singer in the Central region, with several singles to his name, including “Nigukwagira” (it shall be well), “Nyitagirira” (sustain me) and “Don’t Worry”.
Senator Kang’ata said Murang’a has lost one of its promising sons who appeared set for political greatness because he had been received well by Mathioya people and the UDA party.
“But we are now content since it is the workings of God…We will cope and mine is to pray for his family to have the fortitude to bear with the loss and in our Hustler Nation we will be kind in word and deed as we now prepare to bid him goodbye from this life,” he said.
Last week, as he preached on a radio station, Bishop Migwi said his church has 2,600 registered members including reformed criminals in Nairobi slums.
Rooting for Dr Ruto as his preferred successor to President Kenyatta, he said “we are better off with this man who is being painted as a thief…The good thing about this said thief is that he brings his loot back to the lowly, whereas other thieves we know take theirs to witchdoctors”.
Bishop Migwi, on the campaign trail in Mathioya, declared himself as a man who for the past 25 years managed souls for God and would have no problems managing development for God’s people.
He said he was committed to giving hope to the hopeless.
"God told me to go and change people’s lives. I have done it in Nairobi and it is time to bring my charm home,” he said in Rurii on November 16.
In Kayole, Bishop Migwi was a strong critique of extrajudicial killings in the fight against crime.
"I don’t believe in killing young people, rather I believe that all regardless of their waywardness can be given a second chance and reform. Behavioural lessons have classic incidents of cases that were transformed through the word of God and professional counselling," he said.
Responding directly to a Facebook post by Hessy wa Kayole (an undercover police officer said to have killed dozens of young criminals), he wrote: “My brother let it be known to you that Killing these young children some in school, is not a solution. You are inflicting grief on their parents as you pile curses on your life and your descendants.”