On Saturday, three more survivors were discovered in the Shakahola forest, raising the total number of individuals rescued from the clutches of the cult led by Paul Mackenzie to 61. These recent survivors, all adult women, were found during ongoing searches for those affected by the cult’s sinister activities.
Rhoda Onyancha, Coast Regional Commissioner, announced the rescue, while Martin Nyuguto, the homicide director at the Directorate of Criminal Investigations, confirmed that exhumations would recommence on Monday. Initially, the resumption of exhumations was expected to occur on Saturday, following an announcement by Chief Government Pathologist Dr. Johansen Oduor, who completed the examination of 112 bodies over the course of five days.
Dr. Oduor shared that the majority of the victims had perished due to starvation, while others succumbed to strangulation. Weather conditions and the state of the grounds, however, delayed the exhumations as heavy rains necessitated the temporary suspension of the operation.
Cult leader Paul Mackenzie stands accused of persuading hundreds of his followers to starve themselves to death in a twisted pursuit of divine encounters. The alarming revelations have sent shockwaves through the nation, with more than 100 bodies exhumed from mass graves located on an 800-acre property linked to Mackenzie.
President William Ruto took action on Friday, establishing a Commission of Inquiry to investigate the harrowing events. Court of Appeal Judge Justice Jessie Lesiit will chair the commission, tasked with examining the deaths, torture, and inhumane treatment of individuals associated with the Mackenzie-led Good News International Church in Malindi, Kilifi County.
Joining Lesiit on the commission are Justice (Rtd) Mary Kasango, Dr. Frank Njenga (psychiatrist), Eric Gumbo, Bishop Catherine Mutua, Dr. Jonathan Lodompui, Wanyama Musiambu, and Albert Musasia. Oliver Karori and Rachel Main will serve as joint secretaries, with Senior Counsel Kioko Kilukumi acting as lead counsel, aided by Vivian Nyambeki and Bahati Mwamuye.