Kenyan Court Acquits ‘Miracle Baby’ Preacher of Trafficking

Harare — Due to inadequate evidence provided by the prosecution, a Kenyan court has acquitted a notorious self-styled preacher who claimed he could assist infertile couples in conceiving “miracle babies” through prayer, Al Jazeera reports.

Gilbert Deya was declared not guilty on Jul 17 by Senior Principal Magistrate Robison Ondieki of the Milimani high court, who made the decision that the prosecution had not shown sufficient evidence to connect the 86-year-old to the accusations.

Deya, a former stonemason who immigrated to London from Kenya as a well-known televangelist in the middle of the 1990s, was charged with kidnapping five children between 1999 and 2004 to support his allegations.

Following a ten-year short struggle to stay in the UK, the preacher, whose Gilbert Deya Ministries has churches in London, Birmingham, Nottingham, Liverpool, and Manchester, was deported from Britain to Kenya in 2017. Deya and his wife Mary, who both claim to have been ordained as archbishops by the United Evangelical Churches of America, said that their prayers could cause infertile and postmenopausal women to become pregnant in four months and without sexual activity.

Prosecutors said that the “miracle babies” were really kidnapped, primarily from Nairobi’s impoverished neighborhoods. They tested before the courts with 26 witnesses. Deya’s allegations initially surfaced in a 2004 case, when a British coroner determined that a newborn named Sarah, who had passed away at the age of three weeks, was not linked to either of her purported parents. DNA testing revealed that the woman, who claimed to have given birth in Nairobi despite being warned she was infertile, had not given birth at all.

Kenya, a country with a significant Christian population, has over 4,000 congregations, some of which are led by self-proclaimed pastors without any formal theological training.

This year,Kenya was stunned by the discovery of the graves in April near the Indian Ocean coastal town of Malindi, in what has been dubbed the “Shakahola forest massacre”. The self-proclaimed ‘pastor’, who is due to face terrorism charges for allegedly urging followers to starve to death “to meet Jesus,” appeared in the dock in Mombasa. Mackenzie is facing the charges along with 17 other defendants.

Autopsies carried out on over 100 bodies found that while starvation appeared to be the main cause of death, some of the victims – including children – were strangled, beaten, or suffocated.

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