Shakahola massacre: Paul Mackenzie on hunger strike following Kindiki Kithure threats
Suspected cult leader Pastor Paul Mackenzie Nthenge went on a hunger strike in protest of utterances made by Cabinet Secretary Kindiki Kithure on Sunday, June 4, 2023. Speaking before a judge in court on June 7, 2023, Mr Mackenzie’s lawyer said he had been watching the news when reports of the CS swearing to have Mackenzie locked up in prison forever was broadcast.
“When I was watching the news, the CS in charge of Internal Security, one Professor Kithure Kindiki made some remarks, specifically about one Mackenzie… This team wants to know if this exercise we are undertaking is in futility. I was discussing the same with my other friends and I felt that we need some assurance from the Chief Justice of the Republic of Kenya, Honorable Martha Koome, we want assurances from the Chairman of the Justice and Constitutional Affairs, the National Assembly, from the DCI on Mr Amin, we also want assurance from the Chairman of the Law Society of Kenya that our client will get justice, fair hearing because as I address you your honor, some of the respondents have now resorted to hunger strike,” said Mr Mackenzie’s lawyer.
He went on to say that CS Kithure’s utterances are dangerous, unlawful and unwarranted.
Nairobi News previously reported that CS Kindiki said Mackenzie will never leave prison. Speaking at a church service in Kirinyaga County, the CS said, “Mackenzie won’t come out, he will stay and age in prison.” He also said the government would not tolerate such church leaders in society who head cults that misled followers with their teachings.
The CS further mockingly prayed that the founder of the Good News International Church would live long enough to cool his heels in prison so that his punishment would serve as a lesson to him and like-minded cult leaders in the country.
Police stumbled upon mass graves in Shakahola Forest located in Kilifi County after receiving missing persons reports that later resulted in the missing persons being found dead. Their deaths were connected to Pastor Mackenzie and his church where they unraveled a cult following. It was reported that Mackenzie had been teaching his congregants to starve themselves to death if they wanted to meet Jesus Christ.
So far, over 250 bodies were unearthed from mass and shallow graves in the forest. Government Pathologist Dr Johansen Oduor found that some of the victims died from blunt force trauma to the head, suffocation, starvation, dehydration and strangulation.
In another Nairobi News report, Mackenzie also claimed he did not know why he was being prosecuted as he accused the media of being biased against him and not investigating the deaths deeply.