Kenyan Starvation Cult: Catholic Bishop Highlights Sects to Avoid

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Sects led by people who claim to have supernatural experiences could potentially be dangerous cults that must be avoided, the Catholic Bishop of Kenya’s Malindi Diocese has said.

In an interview with ACI Africa, Bishop Willybard Kitogho Lagho said that one can also tell that they are in a cult if it is led by a dictator “whose word is final”, where the leader instils fear for “end times” in his followers, and where members are asked to isolate themselves from their families.

Bishop Lagho’s caution comes as authorities in Kenya continue to investigate the widely condemned Shakahola starvation cult in the Kenyan coastal town of Malindi which is under the Bishop’s pastoral care.

Good News International Church is led by Paul Mackenzie who is accused of convincing his followers to starve themselves to death in order to meet Jesus. So far, 110 bodies have been exhumed in Makenzie’s 800-acre property located within the expansive Shakahola forest.

“What we are observing is the cultic worship of earthly leaders. Members are blindly following someone after he claimed that he had supernatural experiences such as talking to God,” Bishop Lagho said in the Tuesday, May 2 interview.

In a message to the people under his pastoral care, Bishop Lagho said, “Please be vigilant about mushrooming sects led by people who have no theological training. These sects have no affiliation with umbrella Christian organizations and are acting as they please, taking advantage of innocent people.”

“It is easy to identify these cults,” the Kenyan Catholic Bishop said, and added, “You must raise your eyebrows if someone claiming to be your pastor asks you to isolate yourself from your family.”

He continued, “Also, avoid those leaders who instil fear about end times in their followers to prompt them to sell their belongings and to surrender everything to the so-called churches.”

Bishop Lahgo said that sects that do not belong to any umbrella religious associations should be avoided.

Kenyan religious entities include the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB), the National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK), and the Hindu Council of Kenya (HCK).

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