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.
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.
But does this page really represent Odero’s New Life Prayer Centre and Church? We checked.
Signs the Facebook page is fake
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.
Republish our content for free
For publishers: what to do if your post is rated false
A fact-checker has rated your Facebook or Instagram post as “false”, “altered”, “partly false” or “missing context”. This could have serious consequences. What do you do?
Click on our guide for the steps you should follow.Publishers guide
Africa Check teams up with Facebook
Africa Check is a partner in Meta's third-party fact-checking programme to help stop the spread of false information on social media.
The content we rate as “false” will be downgraded on Facebook and Instagram. This means fewer people will see it.
You can also help identify false information on Facebook. This guide explains how.