Controversial Kenyan pastor, Paul Mackenzie, was Thursday arraigned in court in connection with the death of two children at Shakahola village, Kilifi county.
Mackenzie of the Good News International church in Malindi appeared before Malindi Resident Magistrate Olga Onalo, where he was accused of causing the deaths of the children after one of his church members reportedly starved and suffocated her two children to death to ‘please God’,
According to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), the mother starved and later suffocated the children with the intention of becoming ‘heroes before God after death’.
“According to the investigating officer Joseph Yator drawn from the Directorate of Criminal Investigation in Malindi, police managed to rescue a third child. The rescued child narrated the sufferings his two siblings underwent after being starved for some time before their mother suffocated them to death,” the DPP said.
The IO Joseph Yator asked the court to detain the cleric for 15 days to allow for more investigations, but his request was rejected.
The preacher, through his lawyer Elisha Komora, argued that the report from the (IO) did not explain how his client was involved in the killing of the children.
The judge released the suspect on Sh10,000 bail and instructed him to present himself at Malindi police station to help with investigations when called upon.
Pastor Mackenzie is a suspect alongside the parents of the children – Mr Isaac Ngala and Ms Emily Kaunga.
The trio is suspected of burying the bodies of the two minors on March 16 and 17, in a shallow grave at Shakahola village.
The Malindi Court also ordered the exhumation of the minor’s bodies to assist in investigations.
“The government pathologist and officers from DCI Malindi will supervise the exhumation exercise, and the sub-county police commander and area OCS will provide security. Exhumed bodies will be examined, and DNA and toxicological samples taken,” the DPP said.
Detectives will also be looking to establish if more children could have died due to negligence from their parents after alleged radicalization in the pastor’s church.
Speaking to journalists on Wednesday, March 22 when pastor Mackenzie was arrested, the grandfather of the deceased children claimed their parents received teachings from the pastor, who forced the children to fast until they died.
Mr Francis Wanje said pastor Mackenzie has been ‘prophesizing’ that there will be disasters in the near future and therefore it is good for the children to die so that they can inherit the kingdom of heaven.
“Two of my grandchildren have already been buried, and the one who has been left was already preparing him to die and rest. Their pastor told them that there are disasters that are coming soon and they should not be given food until they die. My grandchildren died in those weird circumstances and now we are happy detectives have arrested the pastor,” said Mr Wanje.
This is not the first time pastor Paul Mackenzie has had a run-in with the law; in 2017, he and his wife Joyce Mwikamba were charged with promoting radicalization.
They were also charged with failing to provide basic education to their three children.