In a significant development, the Kenyan judiciary has announced its intent to pursue charges of terrorism and murder against Paul Nthenge Mackenzie, a self-proclaimed pastor who has been in custody since April 2023 in connection with the investigation into the deaths of 429 followers of his evangelical sect, along with 94 others. The announcement came on January 16, 2024, from the prosecutor’s office.
“After a thorough analysis of the evidence, the Director of Public Prosecutions is convinced that there is sufficient evidence to prosecute 95 suspects,” stated the prosecutor’s office in a press release. The “Shakahola Massacre,” named after a forest in Kenya where an evangelical sect advocating extreme fasting to “meet Jesus” congregated, had sent shockwaves through this deeply religious East African nation.
The charges against Pastor Paul Nthenge Mackenzie signal a serious legal response to the tragic incident that unfolded within the confines of the sect’s activities. The announcement comes after months of meticulous investigation into the circumstances surrounding the deaths of the sect’s adherents and other individuals associated with the case.
The prosecution’s decision to include terrorism charges underscores the gravity of the allegations against Mackenzie and his followers. The sect’s practice of advocating extreme fasting, coupled with the tragic outcome, has raised concerns about the potential exploitation of religious fervor and the need for regulatory measures to prevent such incidents in the future.
As the legal proceedings unfold, the case is expected to shed light not only on the events leading to the “Shakahola Massacre” but also on the broader issue of religious practices that may pose risks to individuals’ well-being. The Kenyan public, known for its deep religious convictions, will be closely watching the trial, anticipating justice for the victims and accountability for those responsible.