Shakahola massacre: What to expect as Paul Mackenzie faces witnesses in terrorism case

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Suspected Kilifi cult leader Paul Mackenzie is this week expected to start facing witnesses in a case in which he and 93 others are accused of terror-related offences.

Among those lined up to testify against Mackenzie from Monday, July 8, at the Shanzu court in Mombasa are protected witnesses who are familiar with occurrences at the Shakahola forest that led to the death of over 430 members of the Good News International Church.

The church is associated with Mackenzie and is believed to have provided a platform for radicalising hundreds of his followers who later perished while observing a deadly fast.

The fatal fasting was allegedly supposed to end with all the followers and Mackenzie ascending to heaven to meet “Jesus”.

The court previously heard that Mackenzie preached in the church that the only way to meet Jesus was through starving oneself to death.

The witnesses are expected to reveal what happened in the forest and how the church’s followers were radicalised before agreeing to die of starvation.

Additionally, the witnesses will be expected to disclose the teachings they received, the individuals responsible for these teachings, how the messages were conveyed, and the specific locations and dates of these activities in the Furunzi area in Malindi between 2020 and 2023.

Mackenzie, his wife Rhoda Mumbua Maweu and 93 others have denied four terror-related offenses.

Mackenzie alias Mtumishi alias Nabii alias Papaa, Ms Maweu, Smart Mwakalama and his wife Mary Kadzo Kahindi and 28 others were charged with the offence of engaging in organised criminal activity thereby endangering lives and leading to the death of 429 members and followers.

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