Shakahola victims engaging in sexual activities at rescue centres – DPP

By , K24 Digital
On Tue, 25 Jul, 2023 10:08 | 2 mins read
Shakahola victims engaging in sexual activities at rescue centres - DPP
Some of the victims rescued from the Shakahola forest arrive at the Shanzu law courts for the mention of their case. PHOTO/Sophie Njoka

The State has expressed fear that 65 victims, who are key witnesses in the case against suspected Shakahola cult leader Paul Mackenzie, are engaging in sexual activities at the rescue centres.

The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), through Assistant DPP Yamina Jamii, informed Shanzu Senior Principal Magistrate Joe Omide that the State would be facing yet another serious crisis of unwanted pregnancies and cases of gender-based violence if the victims continued to be held at the rescue centre.

"The victims have now fully recovered, they are energetic and they have been reported to have sexual intercourse. Most of their time is being spent in this, alongside eating and freely socializing inside their hostels," he said.

Jamii sought orders from the court to have the victims transferred from the rescue centres to Shimo La Tewa G.K prison where they will be held in the male and female cells and their daily activities easily supervised.

The court heard that two of the survivors have since been diagnosed with mental health conditions, adding that they would be dealt with in accordance with the law once their family members are traced.

"We are now seeking for the court to make orders to have all the victims held at the prison to avoid a possible crisis where the State will be forced to deal with even before they are turned into witnesses," he said.

The 65 victims were rescued from the Shakahola forest in March this year after allegedly being recruited into the cult by suspected cult leader Paul Mackenzie.

At the time of their rescue, they were being forced to fast to hasten their death to meet Jesus.

In May last year, the State had threatened to charge the victims with the offence of attempting to commit suicide after they declined to eat in solidarity with their cult leader Mackenzie.

It has now emerged that the victims have continued to frustrate the State's efforts to build a water-tight case against Mackenzie by declining to record statements and share crucial evidence with homicide detectives.

This after Jamii told the court that the victims had continued to lie about the number of children they had left with for Shakahola and their whereabouts.

It still remains unclear if the victims are ready to testify against Mackenzie, considering that they have declined to cooperate with homicide detectives and have so far they have declined to sign their written statements which are set to be used against the preacher.

They are being held at the Shanajad rescue centre.

The hearing is now set for July 31.

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