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Witnesses Narrate How Televangelist Mackenzie Lured Masses to Shakahola’s Death Trap

By Shadrack Nyakoe

A Shanzu court heard shocking testimonies about how televangelist Paul Mackenzie exploited religion to lure hundreds into Shakahola Forest, where they were ultimately massacred.

A protected witness testified that Mackenzie used technology and social media to attract victims to the secluded forest, where he indoctrinated them with extremist religious ideologies.

He promised ample farmland for farming and building homes to entice his followers.

Senior Principal Magistrate Leah Juma heard harrowing accounts of how men, women, and children were trapped and their lives brutally ended once inside the forest.

The prosecution team, including Senior Assistant Director of Public Prosecution Peter Kiprop, Assistant Director of Public Prosecutions Jami Yamina, Principal Prosecution Counsels Anthony Musyoka, Victor Owiti, and Betty Rubia, alongside Senior Prosecution Counsel Peris Ogega, presented the case.

The witness described how victims were isolated from the outside world and systematically killed.

Testifying from a protected witness box, the witness vividly painted a picture of the carnage that occurred between 2020 and 2023.

Mackenzie, his deputy Smart Deri Mwakalama, and a group of trusted followers were identified as the perpetrators.

Mackenzie allegedly used social media to mobilize people from various backgrounds, promising them abundant land within the forest.

The villages in Shakahola were named after biblical locations like Bethlehem, Judea, and Jericho.

However, the land was used as bait to trap the victims, who lost their property for defying Mackenzie’s radical teachings.

Inside the forest, victims were indoctrinated with doomsday teachings and closely monitored by an armed militia disguised as followers of the Good News International Ministries (GNIM) church.

The militia enforced Mackenzie’s teachings, which included forbidding education, medical care, and any non-biblical literature. Parents were ordered to starve their children to death as a means of entering heaven, a directive that was enforced by the militia.

The witness, who managed to escape, described the deaths of children as particularly haunting. The trial, which began on Monday, continues with further hearings scheduled.

Read also:- State announces plan to build a memorial at Shakahola

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