NAIROBI — In a harrowing development unfolding in coastal Kenya, a haunting cult scandal has gripped the nation, with the spotlight now extending from Shakahola Forest to the vast expanse of the 37,000-acre Chakama Ranch. Investigators have established that Paul Mackenzie, the controversial preacher of Good News International Church, extended his criminal activities beyond the initial 800-acre parcel of land at Shakahola Forest.
Since the onset of the investigation, authorities have discovered more than 242 bodies and rescued 95 individuals. Further, a total of 93 DNA samples have been collected, and 34 persons linked to the incident have been apprehended.
The Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki noted that the investigation’s area of focus has increased over 37 times to cover the Chakama Ranch. To facilitate this process, security roads are being constructed across the ranch, paving the way for a comprehensive, methodical, and scientific investigation.
Investigations have so far established that Mackenzie extended his criminal activities beyond the 800-acre parcel of land at the Shakahola Forest. Construction of security roads across the more than 37,000 acres of Chakama Ranch has commenced to facilitate comprehensive,… pic.twitter.com/rWaPN1oxn2
— Kithure Kindiki (@KindikiKithure) June 7, 2023
Mackenzie, who ran his church for almost two decades before claiming to have closed it down four years ago, is accused of indoctrinating and brainwashing his followers. His sermons, still widely available online despite his arrest, propagated apocalyptic themes, and he reportedly “tormented” the demonic forces within his followers during exorcisms. He also preached ideas such as formal education being satanic and used to extort money, and he discouraged mothers from seeking medical attention during childbirth and vaccinating their children.
The investigation has thus far amassed sufficient evidence to charge Paul Mackenzie and his collaborators with crimes including genocide and crimes against humanity. Mackenzie, however, has so far not been officially charged with any crime. The Kenyan authorities remain committed to conducting a thorough investigation to seek justice for the victims of this horrific tragedy.
The case is still developing, and further updates are expected as the investigation progresses.