Controversial Malindi Cult Leader Paul Mackenzie & 17 Others Arraigned In Court

After spending more than one month in police custody, controversial Malindi cult leader Paul Mackenzie and 17 other co-accused persons were arraigned in court on Friday.

The group was arraigned before Senior Principal Magistrate Yusuf Shikanda, who had allowed the police to hold them for 90 days to complete investigations into the deaths of over 240 people whose bodies were exhumed from Shakahola forest.

The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) had requested the court to grant them more time to investigate the matter.

The prosecution told the court that Mackenzie and his co-accused persons were being held on charges of murder, manslaughter, kidnapping, and unlawful confinement.

The prosecution also told the court that Mackenzie and his co-accused persons had hired armed criminals to supervise the followers who were starving.

“In the event somebody would change their mind, they would be hit by a blunt object or strangled to death by the supervisors,” said the prosecution.

The prosecution further told the court that most of the victims died of starvation, but a good number died of injuries inflicted on them by blunt objects or lack of oxygen.

The court ordered that Mackenzie and his co-accused persons be remanded in custody for 14 days, pending further investigations.

The case will be mentioned again on February 14, 2023.

The arraignment of Mackenzie and his co-accused persons comes as a major breakthrough in the investigation into the Shakahola forest mass graves.

The discovery of the mass graves in Malindi shocked the nation and raised questions about the activities of religious cults in Kenya.

The government has vowed to bring to justice all those responsible for the deaths of the victims.

The arraignment of Mackenzie and his co-accused persons is a step in the right direction and Kenyans are hopeful that justice will be served.

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Dennis Elnino

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