A Kenyan court acquitted a self-proclaimed preacher, Gilbert Deya, who had gained notoriety for his claims of enabling infertile couples to conceive “miracle babies” through prayer. The court cited insufficient evidence presented by the prosecutors in the case. Deya, a former stonemason who relocated from Kenya to London in the mid-90s, had been accused of kidnapping five children between 1999 and 2004 to support his extraordinary assertions.
Senior Principal Magistrate Robison Ondieki declared the 86-year-old preacher not guilty, highlighting the prosecution’s failure to provide substantial evidence linking Deya to the charges brought against him.
Deya, who operated the Gilbert Deya Ministries with churches in London, Birmingham, Nottingham, Liverpool, and Manchester, was extradited from the United Kingdom to Kenya in 2017 following a protracted legal battle spanning a decade to resist deportation.
Deya and his wife Mary had propagated the belief that their prayers could result in infertile and post-menopausal women conceiving within four months, all without the need for intercourse.
However, the prosecution contended that the so-called “miracle babies” had actually been abducted, primarily from impoverished neighborhoods in Nairobi.
“The charges were fabricated and lacked merit in a court of law,” stated John Swaka, Deya’s lawyer, in an interview with AFP. He added, “He is overjoyed and extremely happy. He holds no animosity towards anyone and will continue serving the Lord.”
Deya’s claims initially came to public attention during a 2004 case when a British coroner determined that a three-week-old baby named Sarah, who had passed away, was not biologically related to her supposed parents. The mother, who had been informed of her infertility, traveled to Nairobi where she claimed to have given birth. However, DNA tests contradicted her account.
This case marked the first instance in eight centuries where an English coroner had to officially assess whether a miracle had occurred.
Deya alleges that he was ordained as an archbishop by the United Evangelical Churches of America in 1992. Prior to relocating to Britain, he enjoyed popularity as a televangelist in Kenya.
Kenya, a predominantly Christian nation, is home to approximately 4,000 churches, including those led by self-proclaimed pastors lacking theological education.
The recent discovery of bodies linked to a Kenyan cult practicing starvation in an attempt to “meet Jesus Christ” has prompted discussions about the necessity for increased regulation of religious organizations in the East African country.
To date, nearly 400 bodies have been found in the Shakahola forest on Kenya’s coast. The leader of the cult, self-proclaimed pastor Paul Nthenge Mackenzie, has been in police custody since mid-April.