Fraudulent preacher provokes 65 deaths in Kenya
Kenyan police discovered dozens of starving people and 65 bodies buried in unmarked graves on the property owned by the founder of Good News International Church
Paul Mackenzie and his partner, Zablon Wa Yesu were arrested when authorities searched their property and exhumed bodies of men, women and children. Police believe the victims were manipulated by Mackenzie, an end times preacher who promised them heaven if they starved to death. 15 members were rescued from the deceitful cult earlier this month. Mackenzie had previously been arrested twice in relation to deaths of children. The most recent was in March, after two children starved.
“It is alleged that the children starved under his instructions” said Japhet Koome, inspector general of police. “He told them to fast to the point of death to meet their maker”.
The President of Kenya, William Ruto, the country’s first evangelical leader, criticized Mackenzie’s exploitation of religion to terrorism. “Terrorists use religion to promote their heinous acts. People like Mr Mackenzie use religion to do exactly the same thing,” he said.
Interior minister Kithure Kindiki said “This horrendous blight on our conscience must lead not only to the most severe punishment of the perpetrator(s) of the atrocity on so many innocent souls, but tighter regulation (including self-regulation) of every church, mosque, temple or synagogue going forward”.
Christians have been alarmed by the spread of fraudulent preachers in Kenya for some time now. Evangelicals are eager to collaborate with the government to deal with preachers who market dangerous theology and engage in fraud.
“People are selling their property, taking money to the pastor. It looks like it was a church but a program this pastor was using to steal from his followers” said the secretary general of Kenya’s National Council of Churches. “And he is not alone. There are many others”.
The council alerted citizens to avoid churches that do not have a proper governance structure, aren’t willing to meet in public, or pastors insist on praying for members instead of encouraging the congregation to pray to God themselves.
President Ruto asked the responsible agencies to get to the bottom of the activities and people who want to use religion to advance a shady and unacceptable ideology.