Questions Raised Over Senators Mavueni Church Fact Finding Mission Funded By Pastor Ezekiel Odero

The fact-finding mission by the Senate ad hoc committee investigating the Shakhahola deaths and proliferation of churches has raised eye brows over conflict of interest after it emerged that it was funded by pastor Ezekiel Odero.

The Senate Committee is expected to table the report concerning its findings before the House on Thursday this week.

Details have emerged that their visit to Pastor Ezekiel Odero’s New Life Prayer Centre and Church in Mavueni, Kilifi county yesterday was not funded by the Senate but the New Life Prayer Centre Pastor who is a man of interest in the matter.

On Monday, the committee led by its chairman, Tana River Senator Danson Mungatana, was in Mavueni to inspect the church following Pastor Ezekiel’s testimony before the committee on Friday.

The Senate Adhoc committee visited the church premises even as Odero and his church are accused of indoctrination and mass murder.

On Friday, Pastor Odero had offered to ferry a Senate Committee to the Coast to his church in the ongoing probe into Shakhahola deaths. He promised to cater for all the expenses for senators who would be on that trip.

“I will pay for you to come and see what we do. I pray from the bottom of my heart that the chair of the committee convinces the members to come,” Ezekiel said.

According to the standing orders, the Senate Adhoc committee was supposed to resolve that it intends to undertake a county visit and agree on the dates of the visit but details have shown that the Senators visited the church premises without the secretariat.

The Clerk was expected to facilitate and secure authority from the Speaker to sit outside the precincts of Parliament, in liaison with the committee chairperson by writing a memo to the Clerk seeking his consideration and approval for the visit.

The memo should include; the proposed dates, list of participants, budget, program, logistics, and a signed authorization by the Speaker to sit outside the precincts of Parliament.

To aggravate the situation even further, the Senate Adhoc committee members were divided on whether the visit was necessary lifting the lid on lack of consensus on the issue.

Mungatana has dispelled the rumors that the Mavueni visit was a ploy to give Pastor Ezekiel a clean bill of health refusing to come clean on whether the Senate funded the trip to the coastal county.

“We were told that there were graves at the scene, we went and checked, there was none, we were told that there was a mortuary, we checked there was none, that is all we went to do,”

“The issue of giving a clean bill of health is not on us, we don’t even have such a mandate as a committee, all we are seeking is the truth,” Mungatana said.

The 11-member senate ad-hoc committee was formed to investigate the proliferation of churches in the country and the circumstances that led to the deaths of over 350 faithful of the church linked to Pastor Mackenzie.

The senators are seeking to establish the registration status of religious institutions in the country and identify the mitigation measures in place to regulate them and combat extremism.

The Senate committee is expected to carry out an audit of the legal and registration framework for religious organizations in the country. Consequently, it will develop a legislative proposal on regulating religious activities and make any other recommendation that will prevent religious organizations from extreme indoctrination of their followers including radicalization, spiritual and financial exploitation

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