Mombasa. A pastor in Mombasa County stunned faithful when he slit his own throat and died after stabbing his wife several times during a service on Sunday.
Mr Elisha Misiko, 55, was the pastor of Ground for God's Gospel Ministries at Chembani in Bamburi. His wife was Ms Ann Mghoi.
Family friends and the church faithful told the Nation that the stabbings and suicide were the culmination of a long-running family dispute over ownership and management of the church.
Village elder Mtengo Amuri said, "The two had been running the church for more than eight years but in the last few months, they differed over management."
The pastor had accused his spouse, a mother of four, of plotting to edge him out of the church that he claimed to have founded.
According to worshippers who spoke to the Nation, a calm Mr Misiko entered the church at 9am and chose a seat on the pulpit near his wife.
As members continued with the service, he suddenly rose from his seat as if to consult Ms Mghoi, but attacked her using the two knives he had hidden under his shirt.
The village elder said, "The husband moved stealthily on the pulpit towards his wife and stabbed her in the back. When he tried to slit her throat, she blocked him, injuring her hand."
Mr Misiko stabbed Ms Mghoi several times before the shocked worshippers intervened and rushed her to the Coast General Hospital, where she died while being treated.
It was while Ms Mghoi was being rescued that Mr Misiko took his own life.
Ms Janet Tole, a close family friend, said the couple had wrangled for long and had been separated for the last few months.
Mr Misiko, she said, had threatened to kill Ms Mghoi a number of times, a claim that a suicide note proved.
“He claimed she had blocked him from seeing the children after they separated,” said Ms Tole, one of those who took Ms Mghoi to hospital.
One of the worshippers told the Nation that Mr Misiko and Ms Mghoi fought in their house just before the service.
"Today marks the first Sunday this year ...this is sad. We had been struggling to resolve the issues the couple raised."
Kisauni Sub-county Police Commander Julius Kiragu said the woman was stabbed in the back, hand and stomach.
Mr Kiragu said Mr Misiko had planned the incident for some time, as detailed in the suicide note in which he accused his wife of belittling him.
“The two reported their family wrangles at our stations a number of times. The matter is still under investigation but we can reveal that the two had marital disputes for months,” he said.
“In the notes, the husband claimed the wife barred him from meeting his four children and was also not involving him in management of the church despite having funded it through a loan, which he was still servicing.
"A number of people have recorded statements. We can confirm the incident was due to the wife trying to edge the husband out of the church, which he struggled to build," he added.
Mr Kiragu reported that the pastor died at the church and that the body was taken to Coast General Hospital mortuary.
Ms Mghoi was taken to the same hospital but died at about 1pm , he said. Her body was taken to the same mortuary.
Ground for God's Gospel Ministries was started about eight years ago and gained a large following to the level of rivalling more established churches in the county.
But it began to lose its large following due to constant family wrangles. When tragedy struck on Sunday, it had less than 100 worshippers.
Pastor Dennis Siria of Southern Presbyterian Church said they had tried in vain to reconcile the couple.
“This could have been avoided if the two heeded our call for reconciliation,” said the pastor, who claimed he nurtured the couple into the ministry.