Though the family of the 98-year-old Jehovah Wanyonyi insists that the father of more than 95 and husband to many is still alive, local administrators say Mr Wanyonyi died on July 18The leaders say Wanyonyi died as he was being taken to the hospital in Kitale after falling “very sick”.
Assistant Chief Paul Bett confirmed that he indeed gave the family the burial permit on July 19, a day after Jehova Wanyonyi reportedly died.
“He died on July 18 on his way to the hospital and his son came for the permit the following day,” said Mr Bett.
Two weeks ago, The Standard team was repulsed from Wanyonyi’s home in Chemororoch village in Soy constituency by family members who insisted that their father and “god” was still alive. The visit to the compound was occasioned by rumours that the self-proclaimed god had died. Some of the family members, including some of the 70 wives and children, became violent and forcefully ejected the journalists claiming that they had no business in the compound and that their god, “mungu mwenye enzi” was safe. At first, there was speculation that Jehovah had been hospitalised in Cherangany before being transferred to Moi Teaching and Referral hospital (MTRH) in Eldoret.
“He was suffering from back complications for a while but was taken to hospital by his sons in Nairobi, a god does not die and even if so, we would have gotten a report from his children in Nairobi,” said a defiant Masinde. A loal cobbler said that Jehovah has another family and even followers in neighbouring Uganda and it was likely his kinsmen had taken his body there for burial. Since his disappearance, several followers, who refer to him as the “living god” have been making regular visits to pitch camp at his home, which is the main shrine, to pray for their god’s recovery.
This sudden death of the self-proclaimed Jehovah Wamyonyi is surely sad for his followers.