On Wednesday, Reverend Nathan Kirimi of Jesus Winner Ministry said the new coronavirus, a global pandemic that has killed 10,000 across the world is a hoax.
In a press conference, the preacher who looked dapper in a maroon jacket, a white shirt and striped tie quoted a rather unusual source to back his claims; Jesus.
“Jesus Christ our Lord told me to tell the whole world that there is no disease like coronavirus. He told me to tell the world that He Himself was the one who caused this to intended people and let this terror hit the world to see people who truly trusted in Him fully with strong faith,” He said.
Shooting from the hip, the preacher said he would not be closing down his church, claiming that God had instructed him to keep it open.
On the deaths caused by the coronavirus, Kirimi claimed that Jesus had told him they had been caused by “natural causes”.
“Now concerning the reported cases of death, known to have been caused by the coronavirus, Jesus told me to let the whole world know that it was just natural death and not the Coronavirus as was said,” He said.
Jesus Winner Ministries has since disowned Reverend Nathan Kirimi just days after the press conference.
Bishop Edward Mwai who is at the helm of the populous ministry on Friday termed Kirimi’s utterances as unlawful and against the government efforts to contain the virus.
Bishop Mwai said in accordance with the directives from the government, the ministry has suspended all church services until further notice.
“The management, Board and the Secretary of Jesus Winner Ministry wish to inform Kenyans that the statements made by Rev Nathan Kirimi of Meru are his personal opinions and do not reflect the official position of the church,” a statement from the ministry read.
Further, the Bishop said the pastor who has received warnings over his conduct has since been summoned over his divisive utterances.
“Rev Kirimi has no position in the national or regional council of the church. These are personal opinions. This is not a matter to be taken lightly because the disease has killed many and affected the entire world,” Bishop Mwai was quoted by the Daily Nation.
The virus has multiplied in Africa more slowly than in Asia or Europe, but 36 nations on the continent have now reported a total of more than 700 cases.
Worldwide, it has infected more than 227,000 people and killed more than 9,000.