IN SHORT: Kenyan preacher Ezekiel Odero has been impersonated on a number of Facebook pages, claiming to represent him and his church and asking for donations in return for prayers. But these are all scams and should be ignored.
The Facebook page New life church-Mombasa asks Kenyan social media users to reach out on WhatsApp for prayers. But when they reach out, it asks for money first.
The page uses the photos of Ezekiel Odero, a popular Kenyan preacher who runs the New Life Prayer Centre and Church, based in Kenya’s southern coastal city of Mombasa.
One of the posts on the page, dated 26 February 2023, reads in Kiswahili: “Umaskini unaenda kuisha, Magonjwa yanaenda kupoona ,wachawi wako ambao wanahangaisha maisha yako wakufe wote, Watoto wako watafanikiwa, kazi unaenda kupokea, Muujiza mkubwa unaenda kutendeka katika maisha yako.”
This translates as: “Poverty is going to end, diseases will get healed, all the witches bothering your life will die, your children will be successful, you are going to get a job and a great miracle is going to happen in your life.”
It then asks those with a prayer request to send a message on WhatsApp to a certain cellphone number.
Similar posts on the page have attracted hundreds of likes and comments.
Since early 2023 Africa Check has uncovered multiple Facebook pages, impersonating Odero and his church and asking for money in return for prayers.
But does this page really represent Odero’s New Life Prayer Centre and Church? We checked.
Signs the Facebook page is fake
We searched online for the New Life Prayer Centre and Church and found its YouTube channel, New Life TV KENYA.
It had more than 423,000 subscribers at the time of writing. All the preacher’s activities are posted on the channel.
The channel lists the church’s official phone numbers and the number given in the Facebook page’s posts is not among them.
We reached out to the number on WhatsApp and we were told to deposit KSh1,000 first to the number as an offering, before prayers could be given.
Legit Facebook page
The church’s YouTube channel includes a link to the website newlifeprayercenterandchurch.org.
The website in turn links to the church’s official Facebook page, which has more than 242,000 followers. The page transparency section shows it was created on 5 December 2020. The fake page was created on 11 November 2022 and has only 20,000 followers.
It is unlikely for the preacher to run two Facebook pages with different contact details.
To help protect yourself against online fraudsters, see Africa Check’s guide to Facebook scams and how to spot them.
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