Shakahola probe: Interior CS Kindiki blames Judiciary for letting Mackenzie roam free
Interior Cabinet Secretary Prof. Kithure Kindiki has tossed a huge chunk of blame on the Judiciary’s front door for what he termed as not doing enough to stop controversial preacher Paul Mackenzie’s cultic activities sooner.
CS Kindiki on Friday seemingly told a Senate Ad-Hoc committee probing the proliferation of religious organisations in the country that many lives lost through Mackenzie’s starvation cult in Shakahola forest would have been saved if the justice system had acted and locked him up on the various occasions he was arraigned in court for criminal offences.
According to the CS, a majority of the casualties recorded in hakahola forest, Kilifi County, occurred in the period after Mackenzie was released on bail.
“Majority of the bodies exhumed were of people killed and buried after March 22, 2023. This is after Mackenzie was released on Ksh.10,000 cash bail,” he said.
“The Judiciary must look inwards and answer to the people of Kenya where it was when things at Shakahola were happening.”
The Interior boss however acknowledged and took responsibility for the lapses in the security sector that enabled Mackenzie to operate undetected for all that while, thereby offering an apology to Kenyans.
He however went ahead to detail how the controversial preacher, whom he christened a “terrorist”, was able to commit his crimes under the radar for so long.
CS Kindiki disclosed that Mackenzie operated in an old school manner by avoiding the use of technology at all costs, further that he also made most of his transactions in cash.
“We failed as organs of national security. The tragedy at Shakahola forest should have been detected and averted. I tender an unqualified apology to the people of Kenya on behalf of the security sector, past and present,” he said.
“This Mackenzie terrorist was deliberate in whatever he was doing. He avoided the use of technology, and a lot of the money he had conned people was done in cash. Some of the mass graves were covered with vegetation, and that is why our officers have to physically look for the graves. This operation will take a long time to conclude.”
The Judiciary previously shared Mackenzie’s court history dating back to March 2017, when he was charged with the offence of offering Basic Education in an un-registered institution.
He entered into a plea bargain with the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) and was discharged by the trial court and ordered to be of good behaviour.
Mackenzie was later arraigned on October 17, 2017 on four counts. The charges included radicalisation, and failing to take his children to compulsory primary and secondary school. He pleaded not guilty and was acquitted on October 29, 2021.
On April 11, 2019, Mackenzie was charged with three counts, including incitement to disobedience of the law and being in possession of and distributing films to the public which had not been examined and approved by the Kenya Film Classification Board (KFCB).
He again pleaded not guilty in this case. The matter is coming up for defence hearing on June 26 this year.
Mackenzie was mentioned in five separate miscellaneous criminal applications. One in 2017 saw him and 20 others held for seven days on grounds that they were to carry out investigations for radicalization of children after they were found with 73 children in a church.
The other four emanated from the ongoing Shakahola investigations, including one in particular that connected Mackenzie to the murder of two children in Shakahola. That application was later dismissed for lack of merit.
The other applications were for the exhumation of remains of 14 unknown bodies, while another application allowed for the exhumation of the 800 acre Shakahola land.
The Good News International Church owned by Mackenzie was also involved in a children protection and care matter in October 2017, as well as a criminal case in March 2019.
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