The National Assembly Committee on Administration and Internal Affairs has conducted a fact-finding visit to Shakahola area in Kilifi County to establish facts and circumstances surrounding the mass killings of people in incident allegedly linked to a religious cult associated with Good News International Church.
The Committee chaired by Hon. Gabriel Tongiyo visited the scene of the incident and met with the Mr. Josephat Biwott, the Kilifi County Commissioner and Mrs. Rhoda Onyancha, Coast Regional Commissioner and representatives from County Security teams to gather information.
During the briefing, the Lawmakers requested information on the organization and execution of the crime, the number of deaths confirmed by the police, the number of missing persons, the process of identifying the victims, and the measures put in place to crackdown on cultic outfits in the county.
Members of the Committee also sought information on the profile of Mr. Paul Mackenzie Nthenge, the alleged cult leader, and other associates, as well as the remedial actions taken by the government and assistance offered to affected families.
Hon. Gabriel Tongoyo expressed his concerns, stating, “Given the magnitude of this issue, we must ensure that all those involved are held accountable and that we prevent such incidents from happening in the future. It is our responsibility to protect our citizens, and we must do everything in our power to achieve that.”
In addition, the Committee raised concerns about the failed attempts to prosecute Pastor Paul Mackenzie for crimes allegedly associated with him since 2017. The Committee also sought to meet separately with the area assistant chief/chief, elders, and locals.
Details provided by the County Criminal Investigation Officer, the Regional Criminal Investigation Officer, and County Security teams revealed that Mackenzie, a driver from Malindi, created his own church, Good News International, in 2003.
Hon. Caroline Ngelechi sought clarification on the number of branches of the church that had been established and the clergy that served alongside the accused.
In response representatives from the County Security team revelead that as part of their investigation they had written to the Registrar to establish the number of established branches of the church.
Legislators further undertook a visit to Shakahola area accompanied by the County Commissioner, Regional County Commissioner, County Criminal Investigation Officer, the Regional Criminal Investigation Officer, County Security teams and Red Cross Society Representatives.
While engaging with the Committee Mr. Josephat Biwott admitted, ” we are still in the preliminary investigations stage. The County Security Teams have been working day and night on the case.The investigation into the cult led by Mr. Paul Mackenzie Nthenge is ongoing, with more information expected to be revealed in due course.”
While addressing the media, Hon. Tongoyo stated that “this is a matter of great concern to us as a Committee and to the nation as a whole and that is why we are here.”
Members of the Committee on Administration and Internal Affairs also considered the welfare of officers, with regard to resource mobilization and the welfare of the victims and survivors.
The Committee is expected to continue its investigations into the matter in accordance with it’s mandate.
Members of the Committee on Administration and Internal Affairs present during the fact- finding visit are Hon Gabriel Tongoyo, Hon Dido Rasso, Hon. Rozaah Buyu, Hon Oku Kaunya, Hon. Mburu Kahangara, Hon Peter Kaluma and Hon. Caroline Ng’elechei.