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CITY GIRL: Let Kanyari be, you hypocrites!

Call him what you want: an avuncular crook; a gesticulating figure who chants prayer and charms the dimes off the have-nots; a flock-fleecing shepherd; the man of cloth who defrocks his flock for a “divine” bosom touch.

His mother calls him Kanyari the victor. His followers call him father. I call him Kanyari. And he called me one Tuesday at 6am to book an interview at 10 a.m the same day.

A little flashback first. An exposé on him was aired on KTN the previous Sunday and I called him on Monday seeking an interview.

He never picked my calls, but he saw my message and called back the next day at daybreak.

“Let us meet in my church in Nyamakima along River Road at 10am,” he told me.

At 10am, my colleague and I were strolling the busy River Road, clutching our purses tightly amid curious stares. I called Kanyari. “Kanisa iko wapi? Niko hapa Nyamakima (Where is the church? I am at Nyamakima).”

Aaaah…hata nilisahau. Leo sikuwa nikuje kwa kanisa. Fanya hivi, kuja hapa Greenspan Mall, Donholm. Si unapajua? (Aaaah, I forgot. Today I wasn’t coming to the church. Come to Greenspan Mall in Donholm. You know the place, right?)” he replied.

“By the way, mko wangapi?” he asked, seeking to know how many we were.

SOUNDED EXCITED

I told him it was just the photographer and I. He sounded excited that two female journalists were coming to interview him. Or was it just my imagination?

We hopped into a car and found our way through Jogoo Road to Greenspan Mall. I called Kanyari to let him know that I was waiting for him at the mall’s parking lot.

A young woman answered the phone: “Pastor anakuja, ngoja.” (The pastor will be there, wait).

We waited. It must have been 10 minutes later when a black Range Rover Sport pulled up at the parking.

I instantly knew it was him. I hurriedly walked to the car, lest he changes his mind and drives off.

It was him alright, in a red and white checked short-sleeved shirt, black trousers and a black pair of shoes. His hair was unkempt, his beard unshaved.

A woman in her 20s was accompanying him. No, it wasn’t Betty Bayo, his wife, the gospel musician who denounced him. I smiled at her and asked for her name. She recoiled and stared at her phone, a mulika mwizi.

The interview began, and it was during that when I realised exactly why Kanyari is such a people magnet.

You see, Kanyari is not a very educated man. He must have dropped out of Form Two, if my memory serves me right. He didn’t bother with vocational college either.

ORATORY SKILL

But what he lacks in his academic arsenal, he makes up for it in his impeccable oratory skill.

Kanyari may be rich, but his greatest strength lies in what money cannot buy — charisma. He may lack a Bachelor’s degree in Economics, but he is a master of “peoplenomics”.

He is a people reader, with an eagle’s sharp instinct and swiftness to turn every opportunity into a money-minting venture.

In fact, his command of English is so pathetic that I had to tell him not to bother speaking the language. We comfortably did the interview in Kiswahili and Gikuyu.

He is a charmer, this man Kanyari. He is funny and witty. He made me relax and we chatted like we shared a bicycle in childhood.

Kanyari maintains eye contact and listens to you. He lets you finish your point, nodding as you ask questions, especially those he doesn’t intend to answer.

He has a beautiful smile and a glint in his eye. He is sometimes naughty and will wink at you. The glint and wink aside, I saw something in his eyes — the fear of getting arrested.

SEED MONEY

He will charm your warts away. He is every journalist’s dream come true. He will tell you what you want to hear, giving you valuable quotes: “Oh yes, I bought this Ranger Rover from the seed money I get from the church. But I don’t force people to tithe, they do it voluntarily.”

I asked him how much money he fetches per “miracles” television show. On a good day, after paying his bills, he will pocket Sh500,000, he told me.

I swallowed hard and smiled, nodding to keep him talking. And talk he did, and we got one of the most interesting stories I have ever written in my short journalism career. 

When he showed up on Churchill Show recently, the audience went crazy and the Internet was on fire, with Kanyari trending on Twitter for about three days continuously.

The bile and vitriol was palpable. How could Churchill invite Kanyari, that thief who steals from the innocent and touches women’s breasts, to his show? It is a family show!

Oh Lord Jesus come down, this is blasphemy! May the Lord forgive Churchill and NTV, for they know not what they are doing! “Mock not the Lord!” they chanted as they threw rocks at the comedian.

I was amazed at the level of hypocrisy among the “twitterati”, the phoney people tweeting from their phones who did not see the irony of castigating Kanyari when they attend contemporary churches owned by enterprising individuals with fake American accents.

HIGH PROFILE KANYARIS

Kanyari’s church may be in Nyamakima and his congregation maybe your house help or a lower caste, but there are several high profile Kanyaris who own churches in leafy suburbs, where you, the educated folk, flock.

The mockery of God and the daylight robbery happening in Nyamakima is replicated in some well heeled individually owned churches on Forest Road, Lang’ata Road and Karen.

You condemn his congregation for being so blind as to send Sh310 for a miracle, but you are funding expensive golf trips in South Africa and bankrolling princely lifestyles.

You are all modern day Sadducees and Pharisees. You see? And I am not defending Kanyari. In fact, I had the overwhelming urge to head-butt him during the interview, but my Presbyterian properness wouldn’t allow me.