Bodies of children starved to death in Kilifi yet to be exhumed

Pastor Paul Mackenzie of the Good News International Church during his arrest in Malindi 

Photo credit: Alex Kalama I Nation Media Group

Bodies of two children who were allegedly starved to death by their parents at Shakahola village in Kilifi County are yet to be exhumed, two weeks after a Malindi court issued the order. 

The delay has been occasioned by lack of a government pathologist.

"There is no available pathologist at the moment in Kilifi and Mombasa. The one from Kilifi is on maternity leave. We were expecting one from Nairobi but … We’re still waiting," said Malindi Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) boss Charles Kamau.

A pastor, Mr Paul Mackenzie of the Good News International church, was arrested and later released on police bond in relation to the children’s deaths.

Relatives of the children have protested the exhumation delay even as they raise concerns over the safety of a third child who was rescued.

According to the boy’s grandfather, Mr Francis Wanje, he cannot have the child in his custody since he fears they are in danger.

"The people that were exposed (followers of the controversial Good News International Church of Pastor Paul Mackenzie) are after us, and if I stay with the boy, both his life and mine are in danger," he said. 

Mr Wanje added that it has become hard for him to visit his grandchild, who is currently under the care of a former follower of the same church but who has since reformed. 

The children’s parents are followers of Pastor MacKenzie, who had reportedly instructed them to fast and attend his sermons.  

More than 10 people from Shakahola and Msimba villages in Kilifi got serious injuries after neighbours attacked them on Friday night on claims of being followers of the controversial Good News International Church of Pastor Paul Mackenzie. 

In a court case, the State accuses Mr Mackenzie of manipulating people through skewed radical religious teachings, and fear of the unknown, in pursuit of salvation, leading to the deaths of many. 

A murder incident report filed at Langobaya Police Station located in Malindi Sub County under OB Number 12/17/3/2023 linked the deaths of the two children to the pastor.

Also listed as suspects in the children’s deaths are the parents, Mr Isaac Ngala and Ms Emily Kaunga.

Court documents indicate that the two, on advice from Mr Mackenzie, had starved and later suffocated the children, Seth Hinzano and Evabra Dito in order to make them heroes following their death.

The couple are suspected of burying the two children on March 16 and 17 in a shallow grave at Shakahola village.