Interior Cabinet Secretary (CS) Prof Kithure Kindiki has told politicians to keep off Shakahola Forest in KIlifi County, saying it is a security operation zone.
Prof Kindiki said he will not allow leaders to play politics with the security of the nation, adding that the massacre that was meted on the people in Shakahola should not be politicised.
The CS said that he will launch the second phase of exhumation of bodies on Tuesday, May 9, describing it as “mass slaughter” of innocent Kenyans and that dozens more bodies were expected to be exhumed.
So far 112 bodies have been retrieved from shallow graves at Shakahola Forest; the centre of Paul Mackenzie’s alleged cult activities where adherents were told to starve to death so that they could meet Jesus.
The CS maintained that no politician will be allowed to enter the forest whether they were from Kenya Kwanza or Azimio La Umoja.
“Those who want to play politics can go out there and fight their battles but we cannot politicise national security. This applies to all politicians,” he said.
Prof Kindiki spoke at Gotolengo Catholic Mission Hospital Chaaria, Imenti Central in Meru County when he presided over a fund raiser to assist children living with disabilities.
“Those leaders who are going to play politics there should know that Shakahola is a security operation zone and they should keep off. Let them be warned that next time we will not be as courteous and we will deal with them no matter who they are,” he said.
Last Friday, Azimio La Umoja leader Raila Odinga attempted to access the forest but was denied entry.
Mr Odinga accused the government of an attempt to muzzle the press by barring the media from accessing the grave sites.
Prof Kindiki however said Members of Parliament who want to go to the site will be allowed since they were exercising their mandate.
“I allowed members of the National Assembly Security Committee there because they are exercising oversight mandate on the Executive and we have no problem with that because we have nothing to hide. But we are not going to allow leaders to enter Shakahola to engage in politics,” he said.
The CS also denied Mr Odinga’s claims that the government was hiding something from the public by barring the media from accessing the grave sites.
“There are some pictures we cannot allow to be beamed on national television on grounds of medical and security ethics. We cannot allow filming of decomposing bodies of other people’s mothers, fathers and children,” he said.
“As a government we have nothing to hide. It does not matter the number of people who have died, we will broadcast it to the world so that we don’t have such an incident again in our country,” he added.
Prof Kindiki maintained that despite opposition by some politicians on the plan to crack down on some churches and individuals, the government would go ahead.
President William Ruto has already named a taskforce to review legal and regulatory framework governing religious organisations and named former National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK) Secretary-General Rev Mutava Musyimi to chair the team.
Mr Odinga however criticised the move, saying President Ruto had gone against provisions of the constitution.
“The Constitution guarantees freedom of worship and this government respects that. However, the same Constitution does not allow that when people are exercising freedom of religion and worship, they should manipulate the word of God and misuse the scriptures to hurt people and to engage in criminal activities," he said.
“We will deal with those people and make sure we visit on them the most painful punishment found in our law books,” the CS added.