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Tanzanian police disrupt Pastor Ezekiel's crusade in Arusha

Security officers who arrived at the crusade told the attendees to disperse.

Pastor Ezekiel Odero shortly after being arrested in Mombasa

The Arusha City Council on Sunday, July 16, disrupted a gospel meeting where preacher Ezekiel Odero from the New Life Church in Kenya was expected to preach.

The authorities linked Pastor Ezekiel to Paul Mackenzie, who is alleged to have caused the deaths of over 380 of his followers in Kenya.

Pastor Ezekiel , in collaboration with his colleague Soni Nabii from Tanzania, organized the meeting at the Ngarenaro Primary School field, which was renamed "Three Days of God's Transformation" and was scheduled to start yesterday and run until July 16.

While hundreds of people were engaged in prayers, the Arusha District Security and Defense Committee revoked the permit for the preaching.

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Police officers who arrived at the scene asked them to disperse.

Speaking to Mwananchi, the Director of Arusha City, Juma Hamsini, gave four reasons for revoking the permit that had been previously issued by the city.

He said it was suspended because the proper procedure was not followed since his office had not been informed.

"All letters from the City must start with the Director, but what happened was that the letter was being handled by the cultural officer, and the permit was issued on my behalf without my knowledge," he said.

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He said he should have been sent an application letter for the field, for him to discuss it with other government officials before the permit was issued.

The second reason he mentioned is that Odero has been implicated in allegations of deaths of followers in Kenya, so welcoming him could have caused unrest.

Another reason is that the venue given for the meeting was a school, and students were in the midst of taking exams.

The fourth reason is the fear of the spread of a gastrointestinal disease that has emerged in some areas of the city.

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"With such a crowd, we could have encountered another outbreak of gastrointestinal disease," he said.

Isaya Doita, the Councilor for Ngarenaro Ward, said he does not recognize the permit given to the preachers because the area they were given belongs to a school, and when he contacted the school management, they said they had no information.

However, he said he received information about the cancellation of the meeting yesterday afternoon.

Pastor Odero has defended himself severally, saying that he is not a follower of Paul Mackenzie and their engagement was purely a business transaction when he sold him his TV station.

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