Why Shakahola Leader Paul Mackenzie Boycotted Bail Hearing

March 14, 2024

Shakahola cult leader Paul Nthenge Mackenzie skipped his bail hearing on Wednesday, March 13.

Through his lawyer Wycliffe Makasembo, Mackenzie attributed the boycott to alleged mistreatment by prison officials at Shimo la Tewa Maximum Security Prison.

Makasembo informed the court that Mackenzie had complained about being separated from the other suspects.

After declining to present himself at the hearing of an application by the prosecution to oppose his release and his 94 co-accused followers on bond, Mackenzie remained within the Shanzu Court premises.

Makasembo informed Principal Magistrate Leah Juma that his client had a fear of “abduction.”

He requested an adjournment of the hearing to provide an opportunity to educate Mackenzie on legal matters and persuade him to continue attending the proceedings.

However, Senior Assistant DPP Peter Kiprop, Principal Prosecution Counsel Anthony Musyoka, and Senior Prosecution Counsel Peris Ongega opposed the adjournment, dismissing Mackenzie’s claims as theatrics to delay the proceedings.

The DPP team stated that there was no harm if the court heard their bond application in Mackenzie’s absence, citing that Article 50 of the constitution allows the trial of any case in absentia of an accused person.

The prosecution further submitted that Mackenzie is already a convicted prisoner; hence, the law requires prison authorities to separate him from the remandees.

Juma also heard that Mackenzie has been radicalizing his co-Shakahola suspects to stage a hunger strike, raising serious security concerns.

In her ruling, Magistrate Juma summoned the officer in charge of Shimo la Tewa Maximum Security prison to appear and shed light on the alleged violation of Mackenzie’s rights, including segregation from others.

The investigations officer, Chief Inspector Raphael Wanjohi, was also summoned to explain the allegations of abduction.

The court also directed the probation department to prepare bail reports to guide it in determining the DPP’s application to oppose the bond.

Juma further directed the National Counter Terrorism Center (NCTC) to prepare psycho-social reports on each of the accused persons.

The court will provide further direction on March 27, 2024, when the matter will be mentioned.

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