In a highly unusual case that has drawn international attention, a Kenyan court has ordered the release of self-proclaimed messiah, Eliud Wekesa, who is more commonly known by his followers as “Kenya Jesus”.
Mr. Wekesa, who leads the New Jerusalem Church in Tongaren, was accused of running a religious cult and promoting radical ideologies, some of which were directed at minors. He was also accused of practising and promoting money laundering.
The case took a bizarre turn when Mr. Wekesa’s lawyer demanded that the court produce the “real Jesus” if they did not believe that his client was who he claimed to be. The demand came after the prosecution stated that findings by the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) did not offer any grounds to implicate Mr. Wekesa.
In the hearing, an Office of Director of Public Prosecution (ODPP) officer informed the Court that the State had decided to close Mr. Wekesa’s file, effectively ending the case against him.
Mr. Wekesa, who had expressed his dissatisfaction with the arrest and arraignment, noted that he had fully cooperated with investigators throughout the process.
The judge’s decision to release Mr. Wekesa has provoked mixed reactions from Kenyans, with some expressing outrage at what they perceive as a failure of the justice system to hold him accountable for his alleged crimes. Others, however, have rallied behind Mr. Wekesa, arguing that he has a right to practice his religion as he sees fit and that the charges against him were politically motivated.
Whatever the outcome of the case, the saga of “Kenya Jesus” is likely to continue to captivate the public imagination, as people around the world try to make sense of the peculiar and often-unpredictable intersection of religion, politics, and the law.