Controversial Malindi preacher Paul Makenzi was today, Thursday, March 23, 2023, arraigned in a Malindi court in connection with the deaths of two children believed to have been starved and suffocated by their parents in the name of appeasing God.
Pastor Makenzi of the Good News International Church was, however, not required to answer the charges that he influenced the children’s parents to force the children to fast to death since detectives had not completed their investigations.
Malindi Resident Magistrate Olga Onalo, however, declined to grant a request by the Investigation Officer, Joseph Yator to have the man of cloth detained in custody for 14 days to allow police to complete their investigations.
Onalo released the pastor on a Ksh10,000 cash bail and ordered him to present himself to the DCI offices in Malindi when required to do so.
Sergeant Yator told the magistrate that the suspect was involved in the deaths of the children since he advised the parents, who are his followers, to deny them food and then had them buried in a shallow grave after they died.
In an affidavit, Sergeant Yator said police received a report from Humphrey Ngala that his brother Isaac Ngala Titus and his wife Emily Kaunga followed advice from their spiritual leader and starved and suffocated their children (names withheld) to death.
"The two children succumbed to starvation on March 16 and 17, 2023, and were buried in a shallow grave at Shakahola," the investigation officer said.
He noted that police, in the company of members of the public, visited Shakahola where the parents and their children lived with their spiritual leader and found the two shallow graves in which the children had been buried and rescued one child who was awaiting a similar fate.
Sergeant Yator claimed that when interrogated the rescued child narrated how his two siblings died while he (the child) watched in despair after both his hands were tied by his mother after she saw him trying to give his siblings some dirty water that was within his reach.
The officer said when the police reached the scene, the two parents ran away, leaving their malnourished child adding that the pastor could also not be traced at the time, forcing the officers to seek a court order to exhume the bodies, which was granted.
Yator described the pastor as a flight risk and asked for 14 days to allow the police to complete the investigations which would involve the exhumation of the bodies and subjecting them to a postmortem examination to ascertain the actual cause of death.
However, Onalo said that nothing had been presented in court about what remains to be done for the continued detention of the suspect save for the exhumation of the bodies which is clearly a function of the police and the pathologist.
Pastor Makenzi was forced to close his church in Malindi following a government onslaught due to his hardline teachings, among them teaching his followers not to take their children to school and also to reject applying for the Huduma Namba, which he claimed were demonic and was consequently accused of radicalization.
He then moved to the remote Shakahola area where he is believed to be doing some farming with his followers as they wait for the return of Christ.
According to Malindi Sub-County Investigation Officer Charles Kamau, the pastor may be charged with other offences among them conspiracy to murder.
“We also rescued two elderly couples that were just about to die and they are being resuscitated at the Malindi Sub County Hospital,” he said adding that most of his followers dashed into nearby bushes when police arrived at the scene.