Three siblings: Brian Mutimba and Ian Mukhungu, who are twins aged 13, and the youngest child, Victor Malechi aged 10, have reunited with their parents in Kakamega after missing from home for one month.
The three, who arrived at their parents’ home in Mayala Village in Mumias East, Kakamega County on Thursday, October 31, said they were hiding in a “jungle” in Malindi, Kilifi County, where they “were praying for Jesus Christ’s return”.
The three, alongside their elder brother, Felix Ndeta, 23, went missing from home on October 5, 2019.
It is alleged that the four were “brainwashed and abducted” by controversial Malindi preacher, Paul Mackenzie.
On October 24, the children’s parents, Benson Mutimba and Esther Shiwatso, told K24 Digital that their eldest child, Ndeta, was the first to be brainwashed. Ndeta, according to the parents, thereafter, initiated his three younger siblings.
Mutimba and Shiwatso said Ndeta, a First-Year Bachelor of Mathematics student at Kibabii University, chanced upon Mackenzie’s programme on Times Television channel a few months ago, and “was swayed into believing the preacher’s teachings”.
“He [Ndeta], thereafter, induced his younger siblings Brian Mutimba and Ian Mukhungu, who are twins aged 13, and the youngest child, Victor Malechi aged 10, into the cult,” said the children’s father.
Besides the four siblings, five other Kibabii University students were also believed to have joined pastor Mackenzie’s “cult”.
“He made our children believe that education is evil, and that the world would come to an end in 2024,” said the children’s mother, Shiwatso.
“They [Felix and his brothers] left a note saying it was unfortunate that we refused to join pastor Mackenzie’s movement,” said the kids’ father, Mutimba, who is a blacksmith in Bungoma Town.
Mutimba alleged that his eldest son, Felix, began “behaving in a weird manner” in August.
“He had refused to register for the Huduma Namba, saying it was the evil number – 666 – which is ‘being talked about in the Bible’,” said Mutimba.
“Since my children went missing three weeks ago, our efforts to trace them, and re-enroll them to school have been fruitless,” he added in the October 24 interview.
“They were so much addicted to Mackenzie’s programme. They would stay awake until very late into the night watching the said-preacher’s programme. Most times, I was forced to coerce them to switch off the TV set and go to bed,” he said.
And after liaising with police officers to look for the lost children, the distressed parents traced the four to Malindi, where the children were staying with pastor Mackenzie.
Mutimba told K24 Digital that he sent Mackenzie Ksh11, 000 to give to the children as their bus-fare back to Kakamega.
On their way back on Thursday, October 31, the eldest child, Felix, escaped to an unknown place when the bus stopped over in Nakuru.
“I am worried about my eldest child, I hope he comes home safely,” said the kids’ mother, Shiwatso.
Mumias OCPD, Peter Katany, told K24 Digital that they have recorded statements from the boys.