Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki has claimed that controversial preacher Paul Mackenzie and his henchmen had a 3-star menu at Shakahola forest, while his followers starved to death.
Appearing before the Senate Ad Hoc Committee on the inquiry into the Shakahola masacre, Kindiki painted the picture of slaves and their masters, where the followers had no choice rather than following Mackenzie's orders.
"In some structures within Shakahola forest, we found a well laid out menu like that of a 3-Star hotel. Mackenzie and his scouts were eating a balanced diet; breakfast, lunch, and dinner next to starving and dying people," Kindiki said.
Mackenzie's modus operandi
According to Kindiki, Mackenzie had employed armed men to supervise his followers to starve to death. Followers who tried to revolt were killed through strangulation or hit with blunt objects.
"Mackenzie had employed armed young people to hang around his followers and supervise their starvation to death. The followers who changed their mind about starvation were either killed through strangulation or hit with blunt objects," Kindiki added.
He says a majority of the bodies exhumed were of people killed and buried after March 22, 2023. This is after Mackenzie was released on Ksh10,000 cash bail.
"This Mackenzie terrorist was deliberate in whatever he was doing. He avoided the use of technology, and alot of the money he had conned people was done in cash. Some of the mass graves were covered with vegetation, and that is why our officers have to physically look for the graves. This operation will take a long time to conclude," Kindiki said.
As of May 19, 2023, the death toll had hit 235 as the number of rescued victims reached 89 after the search and rescue team rescued four more people, one in critical condition.
The exact number of people who perished in the massacre might never be known following reports that there are instances where bodies were plunged in random deep pit latrines scattered in the expansive Chakama ranch where cult leader Paul Mackenzie led an unknown number of his followers.
Sources familiar with the operation in Shakahola disclosed that at some point the number of cult victims dropping dead overwhelmed the standby grave diggers, prompting them to turn to pit latrines for hasty burials.