Inspector General of Police Japhet Koome on Monday, April 24, revealed Pastor Paul Mackenzie's criminal past dating back to 2017.
Speaking to the media after visiting the gravesite of the Kilifi cult victims, the IG noted that the pastor was linked to claims of radical teachings that saw students skip school in 2017.
At the time, the pastor defended himself vowing to continue to practice his belief despite facing criticism. Upon facing trial in 2018, Mackenzie denied the charges and was released on a Ksh500,000 bond with a surety of a similar amount.
Koome noted that Mackenzie's recent brush with the law was on March 17, 2023, when he was arrested after some of his congregants fasted to death.
“According to our criminal records, Mackenzie has a record dating back to 2017. The most recent report was made on March 17, 2023. In the report, he was linked to the death of 2 children."
"It is alleged that the children starved under his instructions. He told them to fast to death in order to meet their maker,” Koome stated while indicating that the pastor was released a week later on Ksh10,000 cash bail."
"He was re-arrested on April 14, 2023, after presenting himself to police. Thereafter, he was arraigned on April 17, 2023. A custodial order of 14 days was enacted to enable the police to conclude investigations," Koome added.
The IG condemned the religious organisations that promote extremist beliefs that contravene the Constitution of Kenya and violate the basic right to life.
Koome affirmed that 29 people were rescued alive while 58 bodies were exhumed from the 800-acre piece of land.
He added that 14 people including the church founder and self-professed pastor Zablon wa Yesu were also in police custody. According to police, the latter was found reading a bible at the land.
The news regarding Mackenzie has caused a nationwide uproar with President William Ruto calling for his sentencing owing to the heinous actions.
"What we are seeing in Kilifi, Shakahola, is akin to terrorists. There is no difference between Mackenzie who pretends and postures as a pastor when in fact he is a terrible criminal," Ruto stated after presiding over the pass-out parade of the Kenya Prisons Service cadets on Monday, April 24.
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