Rhoda Mumbua Maweu, spouse of the notorious Kilifi cult leader Paul Mackenzie, will remain in police custody for an additional two days as investigations into the tragic Shakahola killings continue. Maweu was apprehended alongside her aunt and has been deemed a person of interest by authorities.
Police revealed that Maweu played a significant role in the Good News International church, a religious organization with extreme beliefs that encouraged members to starve themselves in an attempt to encounter God. Her involvement emerged following the examination of her husband’s phone records and interviews with individuals connected to the cult.
Detectives have asserted that Maweu was crucial in recruiting new followers and may have had access to sensitive financial information, as well as participating in the church’s monetary decision-making processes. Maweu was taken into custody from her hideout in Mtwapa on Tuesday before being brought to court that same day.
Authorities seek to question Maweu and 17 others for a 90-day period in relation to the Shakahola catastrophe, which has claimed over 110 lives. Shanzu Senior Principal Magistrate Joe Omido transferred the case to his colleague Yusuf Shikanda on Wednesday, as Omido is currently presiding over a similar case involving Televangelist Pastor Ezekiel Odero.
Both Mackenzie and Pastor Odero are being investigated for a multitude of offenses, including aiding suicide, murder, abduction, radicalization, genocide, crimes against humanity, child cruelty, fraud, and money laundering. Inspector Raphael Wanjohi, in charge of the investigation, has requested additional time to gather DNA samples from Mackenzie, his wife, and 16 followers to match with samples collected from the bodies exhumed from the 800-acre Shakahola property.
Police have also alleged that Mackenzie, his wife, and the 16 followers may have indoctrinated their families, friends, and relatives into the cult. Detectives believe that the criminal organization may have benefited financially and materially from their actions, necessitating the identification, tracing, freezing, and confiscation of any illicit proceeds.
Further investigations have uncovered that a truck acquired by Mackenzie transported several cult members from the Shakahola land to Kakuyuni Forest after his release on a Sh10,000 bail in March for an unrelated case. The court has been informed that the rescued victims still express fear of their “nabii” and absolve him of any wrongdoing.