Kenya starvation cult leader to be tried over mass graves found on his land

·2-min read
Pastor Paul Mackenzie (YouTube)
Pastor Paul Mackenzie (YouTube)

The leader of a Christian cult in Kenya, Pastor Paul Nthenge Mackenzie, has been summoned to appear in court next week after at least 90 bodies were discovered on his land.

Authorities are continuing their search and expect more bodies to be found around the Shakahola forest, where the pastor’s Good News International Church was located.

The bodies were uncovered after a tip-off. Red Cross fears that with more than 200 people reported missing, the death toll could rise further as the investigations continue.

Meanwhile, police raids have freed several dozen people who were unable to talk and walk.

The church is now being referred to as a cult and its leader Mackenzie is in custody after people accused him of telling followers to starve themselves to go to heaven. He has denied the claims.

Pastor Ezekiel Odero, the owner of the New Life Prayer Centre Church, has also been arrested. His church was in the same region as Mackenzie’s and bought his television channel from him. The two are reported to be close friends and business partners.

Talking about their upcoming trial, Kenya’s interior minister said they would “face criminal charges related to mass killing”.

This isn’t the first time Pastor Mackenzie has been arrested. His past sermons branded education as evil and claimed it taught children “gayism and lesbianism”. And, after he encouraged children not to go to school and said education was “not recognised in the Bible”, he was arrested in both 2017 and 2018.

Mackenzie also preached that doctors served “a different God”, urging pregnant mothers to avoid medical help during childbirth and refuse to get their children vaccinated.

On paper, his Good News International Church closed its doors four years ago after nearly two decades of operation. But, there are still hundreds of his sermons available online, some of which appear to have been recorded more recently, according to the BBC.