Of 'miracle babies' and child theft; this man Gilbert Deya

Archbishop Gilbert Deya at a crusade at Tononoka Grounds 2001. [File, Standard]

Gilbert Juma Deya is a religious figure who preached salvation both in Kenya and the United Kingdom under his Gilbert Deya Ministries, enjoying a following of over 34,000 members.

He is famed for his claims to help infertile women to conceive through the power of prayer.

He was born in Juja, Kiambu County on February 2, 1937, to a father who was a sisal planter from Bondo and attended school like any other child but dropped out due to what he says was poverty and bullying at school.

He later moved to Jinja, Kampala in neighboring Uganda where he started preaching, and later got married to his present wife Mary Anyango at the age of 21 while the then damsel was only 14 years of age.

The prayerful couple later started the Salvation of Jesus Christ Church in 1976.

A total of 15 children came from her womb. They claimed.

However, his wife, Mary Deya, was arrested in November 2004 in Nairobi’s Mountain View Estate, and charged with stealing babies and 10 children who were found not to have had any genetic connection to the Deyas.

In the early millennium, Deya gained international attention for his claims of performing miracles, including the alleged ability to bless infertile women with "miracle babies."

In 2006, Gilbert Deya was arrested in the United Kingdom on extradition charges related to child trafficking and other offenses. The ministry had churches in Liverpool, London, Birmingham, Nottingham, Luton, Reading and Manchester.

He was accused of arranging for Kenyan women to travel to the UK to give birth, claiming that these children were "miracle babies" and offering them for adoption to British couples.

He was extradited to Kenya in 2017 to face charges related to child theft, child trafficking, and fraud.

Three years ago, he was also wanted by the British authorities for duping his congregation that he had a cure for cancer and AIDS.

Gilbert Deya's case has generated significant media attention, sparking debates about religious exploitation and the manipulation of vulnerable individuals.

Deya was ordained by the United Evangelical Church of Kenya where he styled himself "Archbishop".

 Rose Atieno Kiserem, a former pastor with Deya's ministry was jailed along with Deya and upon her release from jail, Kiserem confessed that the 'miracle babies' were a hoax created by Deya and his accomplices to deceive God-fearing people.

Deya's wife was arrested in November 2004, charged with obtaining registration for five children irregularly. They were accused of stealing five children from Pumwani Hospital, Nairobi.

He allegedly coordinated the trafficking of children, whom his church would later present as ‘miracles’ for barren mothers.


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