Mackenzie’s mother: If he is a killer, then let me die 

Cult leader Paul Mackenzie's mother Anastacia Mwele

Cult leader Paul Mackenzie's mother Anastacia Mwele and her other son Robert Mbatha at an interview in Malindi on April 28, 2023. 

Photo credit: Kennedy Kimanthi | Nation Media Group

Anastacia Mwele Mackenzie is not a dramatic woman and the fact that the actions of one of her sons have horrified the world does not take that away. 

When she settled in Mwalewa village, Kwale County, near the Lunga Lunga border with Tanzania, she was a mother of seven boys and three girls.

Paul Nthenge Mackenzie, the leader of a cult linked to 109 deaths, is her fifth born. Paul was born in 1973 but  Anastacia says people are not interested in that part of her life. 

Pastor Paul Mackenzie

Paul Mackenzie of the Good News International Church during an interview with the ‘Nation’ in Kilifi County on March 24, 2023. 

Photo credit: File | Wachira Mwangi | Nation Media Group

In an interview with the Nation, Anastacia said it took patience, focus and grit to raise the children with her husband who died in 2009.

“I am surprised by the accusations levelled against my fifth born. Why am I not starving like his mother? Why am I not dead?” she asked during the interview in Furunzi area of Malindi yesterday.  

“If he killed those people, let me not wake up tomorrow. Let me go to hell. Anyway, that is the way of the world. It chooses what it wants from you and mercilessly discards the rest. My son remains innocent.”

Anastacia, who cannot remember her year of birth, said her family moved from Machakos County to Lunga Lunga “many years ago”.

Paul Mackenzie went to Mwalewa Primary School and Lukore secondary school. 

Taxi driver

He would later move to Likoni in Mombasa to live with an elder brother before setting off for Malindi where he became a taxi driver in Palm Garden area while visiting his elder sister, Domitila Kadogoo.

“He married his first wife and they had two children – a boy and a girl. The woman later died, Anastacia said. 

“He then married Joyce and they had four children – one being a boy. The taxi work began in 1997 to around 2000. By then, Paul was a member of Malindi Fellowship Baptist church. He did not have his own ministry.”

Anastacia said she had a close relationship with her son, “who was obedient and very generous with the little he had”. 

My son is not a killer, Mackenzie's mother says

The last time mother and son had a conversation was in March when he appeared in court on suspicion of being involved in the death of two children.

Anastacia insists her son is innocent.

“We believe in Jesus Christ. He is our only hope. In fact, Paul was found innocent on some of the charges he had been arraigned for,” she said. 

“Even this one will pass. Our Jesus will hear our cry and be on our side as he has always been.”

Sometime in 2019, Paul Mackenzie revealed to his followers, who included his family, that he was shutting his church in Furunzi after getting a “revelation” that his pastoral work was over.

Anastacia told the Nation that they did not understand the reason Paul did so but nevertheless, agreed with the decision.

Paul Mackenzie’s brother, Robert Mbatha, said he was present when he sold his media and church equipment to Pastor Ezekiel Odero of New Life Church.

“I was there when the agreement and transaction were made. We have left this matter to the authorities. If they find my brother innocent, they should free him,” Mbatha said without revealing what should happen to his brother if he is found guilty.
He added that his brother has been generous from the days of their childhood.

“He is very generous. He took me to primary and secondary school. Paul has helped many people in Furunzi where he started the Good News International Church. I still cannot fathom these accusations against him,” Mbatha, the ninth born in the Mackenzie family told the Nation.