Police arrest Pastor Mackenzie’s wife, aunt in Shakahola cult probe
Police on Monday night arrested the wife of Pastor Paul Mackenzie as part of ongoing investigations into the Kilifi cult that convinced members to starve to meet God.
Police said Rhoda Mumbua Maweu was arrested from her hideout in Mtwapa along with her aunt as Mackenzie and Pastor Ezekiel Odero are expected to appear in court on Tuesday, May 2.
Police said Mumbua had been identified as a key figure in the church’s operations, hence the move to arrest her.
She is also expected to appear in court.
Mackenzie is accused of manipulating people into seeking salvation through twisted, extreme religious teachings and fear of the unknown, leading to the deaths of many.
He is in police custody for allegedly preaching a dangerous doctrine that encourages followers to starve themselves to get to heaven faster.
As part of the investigation, police have examined Mackenzie’s phone records and interviewed people associated with the church.
According to police, it was during this process that Mumbua’s name emerged as a person of interest.
She was described as a ‘human resources manager’ for Mackenzie’s administration.
Police say Mumbua, who is Mackenzie’s third wife, played a key role in recruiting new members to the cult.
It is also alleged that she may have had access to sensitive financial information and may have been involved in making financial decisions on behalf of the church.
So far, 110 bodies have been exhumed and the operation is continuing in the Shakahola forest using technology and aerial surveillance.
Dozens more are believed to be buried in shallow graves there.
Some 36 people have been rescued from starvation.
Mackenzie, who is in police custody, is being investigated for telling his followers to starve themselves to meet their maker. Police also suspect that some of the victims did not starve and may have been killed and then buried on the property.
He has denied wrongdoing but has been denied bail. He insists he closed his church in 2019.
Followers say he told them to starve themselves to ‘meet Jesus’.