Why ‘Daddy’ can do no wrong in sup­port­ers’ eyes

Weekend Post (South Africa) - - Front page - Devon Koen

While crit­ics of Ti­mothy Omo­toso have been quick to point out traits they as­so­ciate with nar­cis­sism, mem­bers of his church say the man be­ing por­trayed in the me­dia is not a true re­flec­tion of their beloved leader.

One such sup­porter, Martha Mapengo, 51, orig­i­nally from Soweto, said she had been trans­formed and be­come a bet­ter per­son af­ter join­ing Je­sus Do­min­ion In­ter­na­tional 12 years ago.

“I joined this min­istry in June 2006,” she said.

“At the time my life was at a stand­still.

“I was con­fused, not know­ing what had be­fallen me, sickly – [I] had things mov­ing in my body, abused by my fam­ily, failed in ev­ery project I at­tempted to do and I was about to die.

“But God used Rev Tim Omo­toso to re­vive my life, he gave me the courage and hope to live again.

“His teach­ings trans­formed me and made me a bet­ter, en­light­ened in­di­vid­ual,” Mapengo said.

She claimed to be wit­ness to a num­ber of mir­a­cles per­formed by Omo­toso dur­ing her time with the church, which in­cluded con­vert­ing crim­i­nals and ex­con­victs, con­vinc­ing pros­ti­tutes to leave the streets and heal­ing the sick.

“[Omo­toso] is dis­ci­plined, has in­tegrity, rare mu­si­cal tal­ent and the un­usual mir­a­cles that God per­formed through him.

“One of them is a miracle of a baby that was born with­out an oe­soph­a­gus and anus. Doc­tors op­er­ated 37 times on this baby and all their at­tempts to heal the boy failed.

“It took one short prayer of less then two min­utes from Rev Tim Omo­toso to heal the boy.

“I am talk­ing about amaz­ing mir­a­cles in their thou­sands,” Mapengo said.

Ac­cord­ing to Mapengo, dur­ing her years with Omo­toso’s min­istry she saw many peo­ple be­ing saved, some pre­sent­ing with what she claimed were ail­ments im­pos­si­ble to solve by man but ac­cord­ing to her “the man of God had a so­lu­tion”.

“I have been hold­ing on to the teach­ing of this man of God, teach­ings that have brought light and life.

“This man taught me to hold on to Je­sus and him alone.

“He taught me prayer and the ways of God that made me have en­coun­ters with the su­per­nat­u­ral.

“I got to ex­pe­ri­ence what other peo­ple men­tioned in the Bi­ble ex­pe­ri­enced.

“All of us in the min­istry have some sort of tes­ti­mony to tell. Some of us were be­witched, re­jected, un­em­ployed, unloved, with­out hope, but Rev Tim be­came a father, a brother to us, a friend and hope.

“He took some to school, pro­vided oth­ers with ac­com­mo­da­tion, money, food.

“Many of the peo­ple who sleep in the streets of Dur­ban call him ‘Daddy’, for that is what he is to them – a father. He has prayed for many who went back to their fam­i­lies and now live nor­mal lives,” Mapengo said.

On Mon­day, se­nior church mem­ber and Omo­toso’s son-in-law, pas­tor Osuagwu Chuks, gave a rare in­ter­view, in which he said Omo­toso had brought many

good things to the lives of church con­gre­gants.

“He has brought so many good things to our lives, trans­form­ing our lives from bad ways to good ways.

“The im­age of the per­son [Omo­toso] is what is im­por­tant so that is why we want to put it right, to say that this per­son has done more good [so to keep him in jail] is an in­jus­tice,” Chuks said.

He said that he, Omo­toso and other mem­bers of the church were all law-abid­ing cit­i­zens of the coun­try and he did not be­lieve the state had a strong case against Omo­toso.

“I don’t feel bad [about the al­le­ga­tions against Omo­toso] be­cause we are law-abid­ing cit­i­zens and we be­lieve in the con­sti­tu­tion of the coun­try . . . we know only good will come from this,” he said.

“Most of the things that are said [about the church] are not in­ves­ti­gated and are one-sided.”

Mapengo said Omo­toso was too pre­oc­cu­pied and in­volved in tak­ing care of the church, teach­ing and train­ing mem­bers in the ways of God, to have com­mit­ted any crimes.

“We spent most of our time in church,” he said.

“My de­scrip­tion of the man of God might sound ex­ag­ger­ated but it is true – he is ad­dicted to ex­cel­lence and con­sumed with the ideal of per­fec­tion.”

Mapengo ques­tioned the in­ves­ti­ga­tion into Omo­toso, claim­ing ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties in how the state has han­dled the case.

“We’ve ex­pe­ri­enced un­nec­es­sary post­pone­ments in court hear­ings, there [are so many] ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties in how the case is han­dled.

“There is a lot to be de­sired from South Africa’s ju­di­cial sys­tem.

“It kills us to see this man com­pro­mised [and] pun­ished for noth­ing,” Mapengo said.

Chuks said the man­ner in which Omo­toso was be­ing por­trayed and how he was be­ing treated was bar­baric.

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