Kenyan govt given 14 days to prosecute suspected cult leader Paul Mackenzie or release him

Mackenzie was detained in April and is accused of inciting hundreds of his followers to starve themselves to death in order "to meet Jesus"

Self-proclaimed pastor Paul Nthenge Mackenzie, who set up the Good News International Church in 2003 and is accused of inciting cult followers to starve to death “to meet Jesus”, appears in the dock at the court in Malindi on May 2, 2023. – A Kenyan pastor appearing in court on May 2, 2023 will face terrorism charges, prosecutors said in connection with the deaths of over 100 people found buried in what has been dubbed the “Shakahola forest massacre”. The deeply religious Christian-majority country has been stunned by the discovery of mass graves last month in a forest near the Indian Ocean coastal town of Malindi. (Photo by SIMON MAINA / AFP)

A Kenyan court on Tuesday 9th January, ordered the state to prosecute suspected cult leader Paul Nthenge Mackenzie or face releasing him after he was detained in connection with the deaths of hundreds of his followers.
Mackenzie has seen his nine-month detention prolonged on many occasions as the probe into what happened in Shakahola forest, where hundreds of bodies were recovered last April, continues.

Mackenzie, a former taxi driver, was detained on April 14 and accused of inciting hundreds of his evangelical Good News International Church followers to starve themselves to death in order “to meet Jesus”.
Mackenzie and his co-accused are believed to have prevented his followers from breaking their fast or fleeing into the forest.
“This is the longest pre-charge detention in the history of the country” since the constitution was redrafted in 2010, said Judge Yusuf Abdallah Shikanda.
He said a prosecution would have to follow or else Mackenzie and 29 co-accused could be released in two weeks.
Prosecutors had in September called for 180 days more to hold Mackenzie from that point, but Shikanda noted that 117 days had since elapsed.
Prosecutors said in May that they would file a “terrorism” case against Mackenzie, who was arrested the day after the first bodies were discovered in the Shakahola forest. 429 bodies have since been discovered so far.
The majority of the victims died of starvation, according to autopsies, but others, including children, appear to have been strangled, beaten, or suffocated.
A Senate commission of investigation stated in October that the self-proclaimed pastor had faced prosecution for his extreme preaching in 2017, but that “the criminal justice system failed to deter Paul Mackenzie’s heinous activities in Shakahola.”
In 2017, Mackenzie was acquitted of radicalization charges for illegally giving school lessons; he rejected the established educational system, which he argued was not by the Bible.

In this article

East Africa Premier News Source with Top Stories, Special Features and more.
Uncensored & Undaunted