Jehovah Wanyonyi

A Kenyan self-proclaimed deity whose mysterious life and death captivated followers and skeptics alike.

Jehovah Wanyonyi, born Michael Mwaboyi in 1924 in Bungoma County, Kenya, emerged as a controversial figure claiming to be the Almighty God, with Jesus Christ as his son. He led a movement known as the Lost Israelites of Kenya, asserting his divine status and claiming Mount Elgon as his Mount Zion. Wanyonyi’s life was marked by bold declarations, including the ability to cure AIDS and threats of divine retribution unless he received substantial financial offerings from the Kenyan government​​.

His rise to notoriety began in the 1980s when he persuaded thousands of followers to sell their possessions in support of his cause, convincing them he could resolve their worldly problems. Wanyonyi’s claims of divinity were not without challenge; skepticism grew as predicted doomsdays passed without incident, leading to his expulsion from several communities​​.

Despite controversies, Wanyonyi maintained a substantial following, boasting 70 wives, 95 children, and around 1,000 believers who revered him as a god. His doctrine was a blend of Christian motifs and unique interpretations, with followers engaging in rituals and sacrifices to honor him. This included using maize flour and beer for rituals due to economic hardships faced by the community​​​​.

Wanyonyi’s death in 2015 at the age of 91 was shrouded in mystery. While local officials and some reports confirmed his passing, his family and certain followers persisted in the belief that he was still alive, or would return, continuing to practice their faith in his absence. The ambiguity surrounding his death has only added to the mystique of Jehovah Wanyonyi, leaving a legacy that is a complex web of faith, controversy, and human vulnerability​​​​.

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