The state now seeks to detain controversial Pastor Paul Mackenzie for 60 more days over links to a cult that has claimed more than 240 lives in Shakahola Forest, Kilifi County.
The leader of the Good News International Church was arraigned at Shanzu Law Courts on Friday, June 2, 2023, alongside 17 other suspects after more than a month in police custody.
The prosecution told the court that the police were yet to conclude investigations and need more time to do so.
“Judicial remand for an extended period of 60 days is the least period possible within which investigations to be completed under the prevailing circumstances and constitutes the least restrictive means of preserving the Integrity of the delicate investigation,” court papers read in part.
The court heard that there has been no change in circumstances in favour of the release of the suspects who were remanded on May 10.
“There still exist compelling reasons to deny them bail pending completion of investigations and there is a high likelihood that serious charges against the suspects," court papers read.
Mackenzie had last month protested his detention, saying the state was denying him and his wife Rhoda Mumbua quality food in custody.
Mackenzie through his lawyers George Kariuki, Wycliffe Makasembo and Elisha Komora put up a spirited fight before Shanzu senior principal magistrate Yusuf Shikanda who ordered for the suspects to be detained for 30 more days.
Appearing in court on May 10, the lawyers informed the court that their clients were being forced to sleep on the bare floor and were afraid that they may end up contracting pneumonia due to the cold weather.
"My clients have been sleeping on bare cement floors, their lungs are already wet and they have told us that they have pains in the ribs. Chances are they have already contracted pneumonia and they will die before the commencement of the matter," Kariuki said.
Kariuki further claimed that the suspects were being denied food as a way of punishment over allegations of having starved their victims to death.
“They are being fed ugali with some type of a splash of some liquid which cannot even qualify to be called bean soup. I have personally seen the food,” he lamented.
Mackenzie is alleged to have misled his followers to fast to death with a promise of meeting Jesus.