Four people starve to death while fasting 'to meet Jesus'

Coast
By Marion Kithi | Apr 14, 2023
Some of the victims were rescued and hospitalised. [Markion Kithi, Standard]

 Four people have starved to death in Kilifi County after a pastor instructed them to fast, supposedly to save them from an imminent “painful death in the world”.

The four, worshippers of Pastor Paul Mackenzie’s Good News International Church, died after going for days without food and water at Shakahola village in Magarini Constituency.

Their bodies were taken to Malindi sub-county hospital mortuary pending identification and autopsy.

Mackenzie’s followers say they have been told to fast to avoid “apocalyptic damnation”.

According to the police report, the cops acted on a tip-off and visited the scene for fact-finding. They managed to rescue 15 people, among them four were emaciated and in critical condition. They died before reaching the hospital.

The other 11 people, including two minors, are admitted to the Malindi sub-county hospital.

The incident was reported at Langobaya police station under OB NO 07/14/4/2023

''The ignorant citizens are starving to death in pretext to meet Jesus after being brainwashed by a suspect, one Paul Makenzie Nthenge a pastor of Good News International Church'' read the police report.

They also found a mass shallow grave at Shakahola Forest in Langobaya, Malindi.

''The police were unable to conduct any further activity at the mass grave because of the hostile residents in the forest believed to be the suspect's followers'' read part of the report.

Malindi human rights activist Victor Kaudo of Malindi Human Rights Centre condemned the incident and demanded the pastor's arrest.

''The government should take drastic measures against the suspect to save the people because we are losing an entire community," said JCC pastor Thomas Khakala.

Pastor roaming freely

The self-styled spiritual leader, who was once a controversial televangelist, has been on the detectives’ radar for allegedly preaching a dangerous doctrine that encourages his followers to starve themselves to death in order to reach heaven faster.

When the police visited the area on Thursday evening, April 13, they rescued the victims from his vast farm but he was not arrested despite being at the crime scene.

Last month Pastor Mackenzie was arrested for the deaths of two boys who died of starvation.

The Pastor was granted a Sh10,000 bail by Judge Olga Onalo of Malindi High Court, pending investigation.

The court is however yet to open his case since the government pathologist and officers from DCI are yet to exhume the bodies.

After his release, the controversial Pastor Paul Mackenzie Nthenge said he had permanently closed his church and was no longer involved in evangelism.

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