CS Kindiki: Heads will roll over Shakahola deaths

Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki

Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki addresses the media from Shakahola, Kilifi County, on May 1, 2023. 

Photo credit: Wachira Mwangi | Nation Media Group

Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki has revealed that a commission of inquiry will investigate the recent Shakahola cult deaths and recommend action to be taken against public officers who will be found culpable.

Speaking on Monday in Kilifi, on the day that post-mortems on 110 exhumed bodies are set to start, he revealed that the team —which is yet to be constituted — will be looking into the deaths and recommend accountability measures. 

"Those who are asking whether public officials will be accountable, there will be a process of accountability in the coming days. We will find out how our people met their deaths in such a manner. Any person in the path of accountability will have their date with destiny," he said.

"The commission of inquiry will make recommendations on action that must be taken on any public officer whose action, inaction, failure or outright negligence could have caused the deaths of our people."

No more exhumations

Prof Kindiki also said that no more bodies will be exhumed due to bad weather as the focus turns to identifying the 110 remains that were unearthed last month.

"The exhumation remains suspended for now because of the heavy rains and will resume at such a time when it is determined safe to do so. We don't want to interfere with sampled evidence and the site," he said, adding that the area remains under the guard of GSU officers. 

"In two days, we will deploy a chopper to do aerial surveillance and we are waiting for a few operational issues to be sorted."

Mr Abdallah Komesha, the head of Investigations at the Directorate of Criminal Investigations, has been brought in to lead the team investigating the Shakahola mass deaths.

As of Tuesday, 461 people had been reported missing by family and friends. 

"We are not sure all are associated with the Shakahola incident," Mr Komesha said. 

It is expected that the post-mortems, led by Chief Government Pathologist Johansen Oduor, will take about a week although the process is not time-bound. 

"DNA matching of victims and relatives from samples could take a month or even more," Dr Oduor said on Tuesday.