Jan 28, 2016

Kenya: 'Agents of Devil Lied' About Me, Says Deya

Njoki Chege
January 26, 2016

Controversial Kenyan evangelist Gilbert Deya has denied claims by a British newspaper that he has been selling 'anointed' olive oil to cure cancer and HIV.

Speaking to the Nation on phone from the UK on Tuesday, Mr Deya confirmed that there were two undercover journalists who attended his church for two months, but said the two were not truthful.

"We have never, ever said we heal people of cancer and HIV with olive oil," said a calm Mr Deya on the line from London. "That is manipulation of information. And that is why when they contacted me for the story, I said I don't talk to evil people."

Mr Deya accused the British media of being biased, calling the two reporters "agents of the devil" who deliberately failed to report when he was acquitted of rape charges in 2014.


According to a story published by The Sun in London, Mr Deya sells the extra-virgin olive oil in his church shop at inflated prices compared to local supermarkets because he claims it has healing properties.

But the preacher Tuesday said his outlet is a private business away from the church that not only sells olive oil, but also Christian reading material, snacks and books.

"We do not sell the olive oil because we claim it has healing powers; we sell it as part of the goods in the shop. Olive oil does not heal cancer or HIV, we pray for all sicknesses" he said.

London press also reported that Mr Deya claims to pray for infertile women to conceive and give birth to miracle babies, an allegation that the preacher yesterday denied.

"There is nowhere I said that I make infertile women give birth. The women I minister to are the ones saying that they were barren and after I prayed for them, they can now conceive. If a miracle happened to the people I minister to, then they are the ones giving the evidence and the testimony, not me."

The Kenyan government requested for Mr Deya's extradition in 2007 so that he could answer charges of baby theft in Kenya. He has battled this extradition for close to a decade now which he claimed has cost him over Sh150 million (£1 million).

Mr Deya said that the Kenyan authorities had refused to withdraw evidence against him despite the fact that he was acquitted.


Way before he made his way into newspaper headlines and television reports, Pastor Gilbert Juma Deya ran a small church of about 300 congregants in Kibera's Laini Saba area.

He had started out with the Salvation of Jesus Christ Church in 1976, which boasted a few esteemed members, among them Private Hezekiah Ochuka, who would later lead a failed coup in 1982.

According to his biography, Deya and the Miracle Babies, written by Mr Gakuru Macharia in 2009, Mr Deya's meteoric rise can be credited to his sitting on giants' shoulders in the form of the relationships he built with top pastors, who soon inducted him to the world of evangelism.

Among those he associated with was Kisumu-based preacher Maurice Ouma Arao, who prides himself as Mr Deya's spiritual father, starting the early 1980s.

His biography states that he was born on February 2, 1952 to Samuel Oyanda and Monica Nono Deya in Juja, Kiambu District, where his father worked in the sisal plantations.

Deya's ancestral home is in Sakwa, Bondo District.

He got his first name, Gilbert, when, during his baptism, a young and cheeky Deya asked the local AIC vicar: "What is your name, Sir?" Taken aback, the vicar responded: "Gilbert".

"That's the name I want," said the young Deya.

He started his education at Nyagunda Primary School at the age of 13, but only because his mother had appealed to the local chief to sell her husband's cattle to raise money for school fees.

His father, Mr Samuel Oyanda, had refused to send his son to school until the chief intervened.

Deya says he barely lasted a month before a bully beat him up and that discouraged him from going back to school.

He went to live with his big sister in Nandi Hills, Rift Valley, where he started begging.

When his sister discovered what he was up to, she gave him a thrashing and sent him to live with his maternal grandmother, who seemed to have good influence on the young Deya as he returned to school and even learnt basic business acumen by accompanying her to the market where she was a hawker.

He later joined Kambare High School and sat his final exams in 1970.

He says he got saved at the age of 15 years, in 1967, when he accompanied his mother to a local crusade.

Mr Deya, a man of many controversies, has also wined and dined with the high and mighty.

On July 4, 2002, for instance, the Queen of England attended an event organised by Mr Deya as part of his church's Jubilee Celebrations.

In the run up to the 2002 elections, Mr Deya claimed, the principals of the National Rainbow Coalition visited him in London for prayers.

Also in 2007, just before the elections, Mr Deya says Cord leader Raila Odinga went to his church in the UK. "I want to stress here that Raila came for prayers and consultations with me," he said.


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