In a shocking turn of events, a Malindi court has revoked the Sh10,000 police bond previously granted to Pastor Paul Mackenzie, the leader of the infamous Good News International Church in Kilifi. Mackenzie and his associates were apprehended following the tragic deaths of two children, allegedly starved by their parents under the influence of the cult’s teachings.
Now the prime suspect among 14 individuals charged, Mackenzie is accused of spreading extreme religious doctrines in Kilifi’s Shakahola village. The group faces a litany of charges, including manslaughter, conspiracy to commit murder, suicide pacts, aiding suicide, abduction, and assault.
Malindi Chief Magistrate Elizabeth Usui highlighted the gravity of the situation, stating, “One of the suspects asked the court to release him so that he can go back to Shakahola to continue with his fast. This confirms that the activities are still taking place at the said area and unless the suspects, especially Mackenzie, remain in custody, there is likelihood of interference with witnesses and more unlawful activity may take place.” Consequently, the magistrate ordered the detention of Mackenzie until the completion of police investigations.
While the investigating officer initially requested a 30-day detention period, the court granted 14 days for Mackenzie and his fellow suspects, including Robert Kahindi Katana, Alfred Asena, Sanga Stephen Muye, Gedion Mbithi Kioko, Joseph Kenga Mbogoli, and Stephen Ominde Lwangu. Meanwhile, Collins Kabae, Felix Wandera, David Ambaya, Mercy Auko, Jane Nyaboke, Paul Karisa, and Allan Robiko will remain in custody for seven days.
The government pathologist and officers from the DCI Malindi are slated to supervise the exhumation of the deceased children’s remains, while the sub-county police commander and area OCS will provide security. The bodies will undergo examination, with DNA and toxicological samples collected for further analysis.
The case is set to resume on May 2nd, as the community and nation grapple with the devastating impact of the cult’s influence.