It is almost one year since controversial televangelist ‘Prophet’ ‘Dr’ Victor Kanyari of Salvation Healing Ministry was exposed for performing dubious miracles.
The ‘potassium permanganate’ miracle scandal reportedly saw the number of church goers dwindle and is said to only hold one service a week. His marriage to gospel artiste, Betty Bayo, also crumbled.
Kanyari told The Nairobian in an exclusive interview that he parted ways with Betty following the scandal. He however maintains that they have remained good friends since.
Kanyari however explained that separating from Betty was not occasioned by the miracle scandal that also included the pastor being shown on television fondling a woman’s breast.
Kanyari claims they, “parted ways due to normal family issues but they are still in touch and are good friends,” adding that, “they expect things to turn around one day.”
He added further: “People have been saying that we parted ways after the scandal but we are like any other family that faces problems and take time to ponder the next move. In fact, we are good friends and hope one day that things will change. For now, we are apart but in good terms like family.”
The ‘potassium permanganate’ miracle included the washing of his flock’s feet, with what ‘blood’ oozing from the feet when touched by Kanyari. It however turned out that the ‘blood’ was as a result of the reaction of potassium permanganate with water.
Apparently the chemical was hidden in Kanyari’s hands. To make the ‘miracle’ seem even more dramatic, Kanyari was said to have placed needles between his fingers tactfully releasing them into a basin to make it appear as if they had come out of the worshipper’s skin due to his ‘healing touch.’
The illusion was reinforced by the testimony of paid individuals who readily testified that just weeks earlier, they had been healed and fully recovered from debilitating diseases.
The Nairobian sought out Pastor Kanyari one Saturday evening at a mall in Nairobi. We spoke to him as he sipped ginger tea while nibbling at fries and sliced bacon.
“The scandal really ruined my life, though they were all lies. In fact, those behind it were my workers and some of them are now seeking forgiveness,” said the 32-year-old who was born and partly raised in Loitoktok town in Kajiado County, 255 kilometres south east of Nairobi.
Kanyari claims he was never given a chance to clear the air. He says that the clips that were aired on television edited to make him appear like he was performing miracles.
He was also taken to task for asking faithfuls to ‘plant seeds’ by sending him Sh310 via mobile phone money transfer.
“It is true that I was urging the callers to send Sh310 seed, but I made it clear that the money was meant to run expensive programmes on television, since at the time, people thought I’m very rich. That is not the case because I am just like anyone else,” he told The Nairobian. He added that his church had over 2,000 members, most of whom have since decamped after the scandal.
He has been forced to reduce his church services to Sundays as he concentrates on other businesses.
“The scandal concentrated on how I touched a woman’s breasts, asking for ‘seed’ and miracles and totally ruined my life,” said Kanyari.