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Neo-Pentecostal Pastor’s Wife Jailed over Child Trafficking

Aged 57, claimed to have given birth to “miracle baby”

Claim: Political party will make Gilbert Deya Kenya’s High Commissoner to London

I’m a few days late with this:

A Kenyan court has convicted and sentenced three women to two years in jail for stealing a child that they claimed was conceived through miracles performed by a London-based preacher.

The preacher was Gilbert Deya, who was quite an influential figure in the African neo-Pentecostal scene before the scandal broke in 2004, and one of the women now jailed is his wife, Mary. Gilbert claimed his prayers allowed women to conceive and give birth within a matter of weeks; curiously, though, those he pronounced to be pregnant had to be flown out to his special clinic in an impoverished district of Nairobi to give birth. The lack of any DNA match between the babies and their supposed mothers was put down to the fact that these were “miracle babies”. Mary Deya, aged 57, claimed to have given birth to a number of babies herself, and this is what led to her downfall. As was reported in 2005:

THE wife of Archbishop Gilbert Deya, the controversial British-based evangelist who claims he can make women pregnant through the power of prayer, has been arrested hours after claiming to have given birth to a boy in the latest twist in Kenya’s “miracle babies” investigation.

…Yesterday, Archbishop Deya said the baby was proof he was able to help infertile women conceive. His wife arrived at a hospital in Nairobi on Saturday, carrying a new-born baby, a handful of blood-stained clothes and a placenta.

However, doctors said they did not believe she had given birth. James Kiarie, head of obstetrics and gynaecology at Kenyatta National Hospital, said: “I have conducted a thorough check of the birth canal and there are no signs of pregnancy or after-birth.”

Police were then called. Two other women were jailed with Mrs Deya; Kenyan prosecutors say there are “other suspects in Britain, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria and Uganda”.

Gilbert Deya, meanwhile, has been defending his wife on his website:

My wife Mary who was seen at Kenyatta National hospital at 4:00am and admitted in labour ward dressed in hospital uniform was reported to have not given birth. If the Kenyan authorities are convinced that she did not give birth, why did they admit her to the labour ward in Kenyatta National Hospital? If she went with a baby to the hospital, why did not admitted her and the baby to the normal ward?

It’s very painful the way the Kenyan authorities are handling the matter of my wife Mary and it is totally inhuman, humiliating and violation of our faith and human rights.

Kenya is a police state where police authorities govern the society including the streets, the judiciary courts and the prisons. Kenya Police under the current regime are the arresting officers, the prosecutors and the judges, so I believe that they have intimidated the doctors at Kenyatta National Hospital and forced them to make false report that my wife did not give birth.

…My wife’s solicitors confirmed to me that Mary looked pregnant and Mary herself also confirmed to me that she was pregnant. I was sent a photograph of my wife and she looked very pregnant to me.

Deya has also written a letter to the President of Kenya, with a curse:

Embattled Archbishop Gilbert Deya yesterday wrote a strong-worded bizarre letter to President Kibaki in which he accused him of child abuse and neglect

In a five-page letter written in remarkably bad English and made available to the East African Standard in London, Deya claimed that his wife was being held in a filthy room and that the police had attempted to rape her. “These are all satanic regimes corroborated with hell, connected with the BBC radio and some evil politician in the government. Oh wicked generation!

“The hand of the wrath of God of Israel is upon you. You are so merciless to the infant mothers. You have snatched them on the street of Nairobi, you have brought a curse upon the nation.” warned Deya…”Your wicked, demonic police, who might have been trained by the devil from hell are attempting to rape the holy Woman of God. Your unfaithful government have taken their evil hand, laid it upon my family and disgraced me and my children, Oh Kenya! You are doomed, you are cursed,”

One of those who was jailed with Mary Deya was Miriam Nyeko, from London. A 2006 Guardian report, however, suggests that she may have been a dupe:

She was arrested by Kenyan police in August 2004, a month after supposedly giving birth to Daniel, a boy whose DNA was subsequently found not to match hers.

“It was a miracle pregnancy,” says Nyeko. She is a big woman in a pale lilac suit, and she is crying. “I had pregnancy tests and they were negative. I was due to have a scan later in August but I came over here for a short holiday and to attend a funeral, and I gave birth to Daniel on July 19.

…There is much to suggest that Nyeko may be a victim – albeit a spectacularly gullible one – in the birth of Daniel. Shortly after the baby was “born”, Archbishop Deya gave me a video that he claimed proved Nyeko actually gave birth to the child.

It was filmed in a clinic called Mama Lucy’s and showed a woman, seemingly drugged unconscious, being treated by a man and woman in gowns and masks. The film does not show the actual emergence of a child, but simply cuts to a bloody baby, complete with umbilical cord and placenta, between Nyeko’s legs. The “doctor” can be heard asking if she is awake yet.

Nyeko appears to be a deeply disturbed woman. She now believes she is carrying another miracle baby – which, she says, is four months overdue. “What can I do?” she pleads. “If I allow it to come out, they will take it away from me again.”

Gilbert remains in the UK, where for the past few years he has been fighting an extradition request. The Guardian reported in 2004:

The Guardian understands the Kenyan attorney general will ask for an international warrant from Interpol and that it will seek the extradition of the charismatic pastor who is the leader of a congregation of 36,000 people and has churches in south London, Manchester, Birmingham, Liverpool and Nottingham. If extradited, the pastor will face charges of child trafficking.

Mr Deya has appointed a human rights and anti-racism lawyer, Aamer Anwar, to defend him. Mr Anwar said: “Our client denies the allegations against him. He says he does not believe he would receive a fair trial within Kenya because of prejudicial publicity.”

Also in 2004, the East African Standard suggested that the story would embarrass some prominent people who had met him:

Deya’s predicament has put some big names in a spot among them Presidents and Queens of nations who had publicly identified with him.

They include Queen Elizabeth and her husband Prince Philip, Kabaka Ronald Mutebi of Uganda and King Mswati of Swaziland.

He has also had a personal encounter with former President Daniel arap Moi and a slew of top Kenyan politicians some of whom went to receive him at the airport during his numerous trips back home.

He also claims to have hosted some government officials in his London home.

Deya’s last known public engagement in Kenya was last year during an interfaith breakfast prayer meeting that was organised by the then Mayor of Nairobi, Joe Aketch.

However, not everyone is now avoiding Deya, and he has involved himself with the forthcoming Kenyan elections. Deya is linked with the “Orange Democratic Movement“, a political party founded in 2006. Commentator Joe Kadhi noted in March:

If there was ever a picture that truly told “a better story than a thousand words”, that which was circulated to thousands of Kenyans through the internet throughout the whole of last week was it. It showed the suspected smuggler of newly born babies, Deya, posing for the camera with Raila Odinga, one of the ODM presidential candidates. Altogether there were more than ten pictures – clear and irrefutable proof that Raila did indeed visit the suspected child smuggler and voodoo miracle performer who claims to be a Christian bishop.

On the night of March 15th Raila categorically denied in a televised interview ever going to “Bishop” Deya’s place; but the NTV On The Spot interviewer, Julie Gichuru, either did not know of the Deya-Raila pictures or simply let the ODM leader off the hook.

…Whether Raila is backed by Deya or not no one will really know the truth. What is known however is the fact that the ODM London meeting of early this month was a total failure because Kalonzo Musyoka, Uhuru Kenyatta, William Ruto, Najib Balala and Julia Ojiambo boycotted it mainly because they suspected Deya was closely connected with the whole arrangement. In a press statement rejecting the London conference five leaders claimed Kenyans had become suspicious of the trip “which was being seen as a begging mission.” According to Daily Nation reporter David Mugonyi, Pastor Deya confirmed that he was one of the organisers and an ODM supporter. He says independent sources iformed him some of the leaders withdrew after they learnt that pastor Gilbert Deya was one of the organisers of the trip.

The African Press has some rather astonishing background on this:

APN has managed to get in touch with Deya through the phone. He has revealed that there is a deal that has been struck between him and the ODM-Kenya leadership…Deya says he has been offered to become Kenya’s High Commissioner to London if ODM-Kenya takes over power in Kenya after the coming elections.

…The man does not lack surprises to tell the Kenyans. When asked about the child trafficking case in Kenya and how he could be given such a high position when Kenya wants to prosecute him, Deya says that the new government of ODM-K has entered into a memorandum of understanding with Deya Ministries that the charges will be dropped if ODM-Kenya takes over, thereafter, his appointment will be made public on the 25th of February 2008.

I blogged on Deya previously, noting some of his ministry’s rather interesting videos for sale: Jesus Healed a Woman with Three Breasts; Ambassador Carrying a Snake in his Belly Delivered in Jesus’ Name; (Witchcraft) 14 Year Missing Baby Born in the Womb (The Mother is 51 Years Old); and the particularly subtle The Walls of Jericho Came Tumbling Down and Killed the Witches.