Mama Joe never left: is preaching just down the road from Muthee’s church
Bishop Thomas Muthee staked his early reputation in the town of Kiambu on boasts that he banished a witch named Mama Jane, whom he blamed for crime, traffic accidents and public drunkenness in town. Once she fled, Muthee claimed, her spell was broken and peace returned.
Ad: Vacation? City Trip? Weekend Break? Book Skip-the-line ticketsSarah Palin, Thomas Muthee and witchcraft
In fact, Mama Jane never left. She is a pastor just down the road from Muthee’s Word of Faith Church.
“Muthee was saying that this was a place of witch doctors – where do you see the witch?” said Mama Jane, whose real name is Jane Njenga.
Muthee’s claims tap into a powerful belief system across Africa. Evangelical Christian churches have become incredibly popular – there are 500 churches in Kiambu alone – but some religious leaders still exploit their followers’ traditional belief in witchcraft and sorcery.
Muthee spends much of his time these days traveling the world delivering sermons. Mrs Palin, John McCain’s running mate, prayed with Muthee in her hometown of Wasilla, Alaska in 2005. He asked God to protect Palin from “every form of witchcraft,” and to bring help her way. She later credited him with helping her to win the job of governor of Alaska.
Rival pastors in Kiambu now denounce Muthee for his treatment of Mama Jane.
“You cannot make personal gain on crucifying a woman,” said an ally of Mama Jane, Pastor Gideon Maina. “As a man of God, you don’t make your name by stepping on other people’s names.”