alexa High-flying Deya had humble past - Daily Nation

High-flying Deya had humble past

Thursday November 26 2009

Kenya's Prime Minister Raila Odinga (center) in a past photo with the family of Archbishop Gilbert Deya (second left). PHOTO/ FILE

Kenya's Prime Minister Raila Odinga (center) in a past photo with the family of Archbishop Gilbert Deya (second left). PHOTO/ FILE 

By JOHN NGIRACHU

The Irish writer Oscar Wilde wrote that, “Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future.”

A look at the biography of the man made famous in Kenya for ‘miracle babies’ reveals a preacher who was at one time the very opposite of a saint.

The biography, Deya and the Miracle Babies by Gakuru wa Macharia, recently serialised in the Saturday Nation, reveals the deception, quick deals and the experiences of the bishop, from his early life as a child beggar to the intrigues that marked his phenomenal growth as a man of God.

Business partner

He is described as a shrewd businessman, whose Midas touch turned everything to gold but who was also as ruthless as he was successful, never hesitating to dump a business partner who was no longer useful.

He is also described as a man ‘with his nose in politics as pastors and politicians do the same thing—deal with people.’

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“Deya is an amazing man. To those who follow his unique brand of religion he is everything to them – a figurehead, a father, a healer, a miracle worker and a man who is fearless in his acts,” says the writer.

“As a young boy…he used to go out into the streets to beg for money to help his poor family. To do so successfully, he would first rub himself with dirt to look the part. He would then target well-dressed men and women and beg so persistently, following his target everywhere, that the unfortunate person would get embarrassed into giving him some money. At day’s end, he would count his “rich” pickings and buy his family some food,” reads the book.

Bishop Deya started life in a mud hut owned by a District Officer in Kibera’s Laini Saba, and which he plastered with mud and smoothened with cow dung in the true traditional fashion.

He worked at a company called Century Textiles and his climb to the top of the business world was accompanied by his appointment as his landlord’s agent and later as a landlord in Kibera.

The book also documents the fall of the textile company, which he engineered by setting up a firm with a similar name, for which he was fired.

Deya acknowledges that his actions then were unChristian. “It is true it was unfair but it made me what I am. After all, the Indian man was worshipping idols and the Bible says the wealth of the unrighteous shall be transferred to the righteous,” he says in the book.

His Midas touch was proved with the establishment later of a shoe company—Deya Shoes—and a secretarial college, a sweet-making factory, and a courier company. He also moved out of Kibera to Dandora and later to Magiwa.

Deya and the Miracle Babies also details the rise and eventual fall of the bishop, whose chances of extradition are increasing as he runs out of options in his bid to evade deportation to Kenya.

A letter written to President Kibaki when the government pounced on his wife and other women who claimed to have been the beneficiaries of miracle pregnancies and births and locked them up at Kileleshwa Police Station, captures the anger at the government of the time.

In the letter, which is more a rant than an appeal for help from the Head of State, he claims to have met the president on a city street when he was vice-president.

He also claims to have helped reconcile Jaramogi Oginga Odinga and former President Daniel arap Moi at a time they did not see eye to eye.

“When you had an accident before you came to power, the late ex-Vice President, Wamalwa and Professor Anyang Nyang’o and other representatives who visited the United Kingdom, sat in my dining room, drank porridge and ate fish. We filmed them and aired them on VOA. We arranged the business team who they met in the hotel. I am one of the people who prayed for you to be in power,” reads the letter.

Healed his wife

He goes on to say, “I have been privileged to meet Her Majesty the Queen, which I count a blessing to the country of Kenya. I was invited by His Royal Highness King Mswatti the III to his country to bless his country after my God healed his wife who sought treatment in his country and the USA and failed to get well.

I ministered to the King’s family in his own palace and casted demons out of them. The healing of the Queen in Jesus name has made me to be acknowledged as man of God by the Prime Minister of Swaziland.

I met the former President of Botswana during President Moi’s regime. I am a candidate of heaven, a servant of God, who is more loved. I am on my way to visit President Kuffour of Ghana.”