Catholic clergy in Kenya have condemned the Good News International Church led by pastor Paul Mackenzie, saying it was unfortunate that the religious cult had led to the deaths of many people.

The Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB) on Monday, April 24, called on the government to strengthen laws and regulations governing the establishment and operation of religious institutions.

KCCB Chairperson Martin Kivuva noted it was unfortunate that Mackenzie’s church was “allowed to perpetuate its dangerous doctrine for such a long time, leading to the loss of so many lives with the state security machinery completely unaware.”

“It is very unfortunate that we are witnessing a worrying reality in the country where so-called prophets and cultic leaders have mastered the art of exploiting gullible Kenyans in the name of religion,” Kivuva added.

The Catholic clergy called for a review of the Religious Societies Rules 2015, saying the self-regulation provision currently in place has been compromised by the resistance of leadership structures and systems in some churches.

“It is our considered opinion that if a strong mechanism of regulating religions was in place, the long arm of the law would have stopped Pastor Mackenzie from taking advantage of Kenyans to engage in acts of mass suicide,” KCCB said.

Adding: “We call for a review of the proposed state laws to ensure that such rogue pastors are exposed in good time and denied the opportunity to perpetuate their dangerous acts. Such a review should help to identify the weak legal and religious links that cult leaders have been exploiting to brainwash their unsuspecting followers.”