Preacher Victor Kanyari is having the time of his life. Other than for a certain fear of arrest and a general dodging of the law, the avuncular crook is lapping up the media attention.
He can’t believe that he, a Form Two dropout and former shamba boy, was on the TV for more than an hour and everyone is talking about him.
“Prophet Dr” Kanyari takes an airy, sanguine view of the difficulties confronting him.
He is facing divorce from his gospel singer wife and possible arrest after he was filmed by Jicho Pevu, the investigative programme on KTN, faking healing and coaching his staff to tender phony testimonies of, among others, prayer-induced prosperity.
As for the “seed”, which he has been squeezing out of his gullible followers, well, every church is eating it, is his view, whether they call it “seed” or “offering”.
And the seed is working miracles for the phony healer too, if the flashy Range Rover Sport he is driving around Nairobi’s Eastlands is anything to go by.
And Mr Kanyari is all business in the pursuit of the “seed”: He promised, with an earnest straight face, that if the Nation team had relationship problems, they would be over if they joined his church!
Writing on Facebook, Betty Bayo, Mr Kanyari’s wife said he must seek forgiveness and she will not condone “ungodly” acts.
“Anything that is unholy... anything... that is ungodly... anything that contradict(s) my faith... anything that mock(s) the God who got me from wilderness’ humble beginning and raised me for His glory... I rather die... tha(n) be part of it,” wrote the singer who is best known for her song, Eleventh Hour.
However, her husband of three years, who also goes by the name Prophet Dr Kanyari of Salvation Healing Ministry, brushed aside her comments.
In an interview with the Nation Tuesday, he said: “She is my wife and we cannot be separated because of a scandal.”
He said he does not involve his wife in church affairs and that she and their three-year-old daughter were free to worship at a church of their choice.
Kanyari, son of disgraced ‘Prophetess’ Lucy Nduta, who was jailed for two years over fraud after she was exposed by the Sunday Nation faking healings, also admitted that he had coached some members of his church to give false testimonies and make fake phone calls on his radio programmes to dupe listeners.
“I cannot say that I do not coach people to give testimonies,” said the preacher who was the subject of a television exposé that sparked outrage at the weekend. However, he said there were many people who had been “healed and blessed in many ways on a daily basis” through his ministry.
Kanyari promises to cure various ailments, including cancer and HIV.
However, the exposé showed footage of the “prophet” coaching some of his congregants to give testimonies of how they were healed after he prayed for them.
PAYING THE AMOUNT
One of the false witnesses claimed during a church service that she had been cured of HIV after drinking water given to her by the pastor.
Another claimed that she got a job after paying Sh310. Before paying the amount, she claimed to have stayed without a job for six years.
Another claimed that she had gone for five years without a child, but got one after the preacher prayed for her.
The story, aired on KTN, also showed footage in which he appeared to be falsifying phone calls on a radio programme recorded from his house.
“That one I will admit I was wrong,” he said when confronted with the question. “It was not a live recording. We did that to encourage people to call so that they can receive their prayer. I am just a human being who makes mistakes like any other person.”
The pastor presses his audience to send him Sh310, which he calls “seed money”, so that they can receive prayers, miracles and healing.
Tuesday, however, he was unapologetic about the seed scheme. He said those who sent him money did so on their own volition.
“Nobody is forcing them. So you cannot say those people who are sending the Sh310 are fools. They are not fools because they know why they sending the money,” he said.
According to Mr Kanyari, audiences can send up to Sh500,000 after a single episode of preaching. He said he uses the money to expand his ministry.
“The seed money builds the church, buys a car like this (pointing to his Ranger Rover Sport), buys church vans and buses and we also assist orphans,” he said. Until last month, he had two television programmes a week.
According to him, all churches ask for money from their followers and he said he felt unfairly judged for asking his members to give to the Lord.
“The seed money has been called different names. In some churches, it is called sacrificial seed, in other churches it is offering. Mine is called a seed of faith,” he said.
Mr Kanyari also insisted that God speaks to him “normally” as human beings would converse and his gift of prophesy is as “real” as the “miracles” that he performs.
He said he got into church ministry when he was a teenager and a Form Two student at Oloitokitok High School.