Injuries as villagers seek revenge on controversial Kilifi church

Pastor Paul Mackenzie

Good News International Church Pastor Paul Mackenzie during an interview with the ‘Nation’ in Kilifi County on March 24, 2023. He claimed that he closed his church in August 2019 and no longer preaches.

Photo credit: Wachira Mwangi | Nation Media Group

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

The State accuses Mackenzie of manipulating locals through skewed radical religious teachings, and fear of the unknown in pursuit of salvation, leading to the deaths of many.

According to Humphrey Nyongo, a former member of Pastor Mackenzie’s Good News International church, his colleagues had gone to inquire about the whereabouts of their missing family members when the villagers started attacking them.

“They had gone to search for their missing family members but upon reaching the village, the believers armed with machetes started confronting them. They also responded and it turned out to be a riot. The situation in those villages at the moment is tense, something needs to be done,” said Mr Nyongo.

He added the families were angry that Mr Mackenzie was released on Sh10,000 cash bond and the fact that Isaac Ngala and Ms Emily Kaunga, the children’s parents, who are suspects in the mysterious deaths of two children which have been blamed on the pastor, are yet to be traced and arrested.

A close security source privy to the investigations informed Nation that five villagers were critically injured and are receiving treatment at the Malindi Sub County Hospital while a number of attackers were arrested.

“Police are yet to arrest the parents of the two children even as details on the exhumation of their bodies remain unknown,” said another villager who declined to be named. The villagers claimed that after his release, the pastor went into hiding.

Burying them in shallow graves

According to investigations, it is in his house that Mr Mackenzie has been shaping the beliefs of his followers, some of who are now being investigated for alleged horrific crimes — including starving and killing their children and later burying them in shallow graves.

The consequences of these beliefs are said to have been deadly, and some who followed his teachings have died.

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 death are Isaac Ngala and Ms Emily Kaunga, the children’s parents.

Court documents say that the two, on advice from Mr Mackenzie, had starved and suffocated the children, Seth Hinzano and Evabra Dito.

They are suspected of burying the two minors on March 16 and 17, respectively, in a shallow grave at Shakahola village.

However, during an interview with Nation last week, Mr Mackenzie distanced himself from the accusations noting he stopped preaching in 2019 and is currently farming in Shakahola village where he bought land and occasionally visits