Shakahola massacre: Ruto appoints Justice Lessit, lawyer Kilukumi to investigating commission

Lady Justice Jessie Lessit at a Milimani High Court. [File, Standard]

President William Ruto has appointed Court of Appeal judge Jessie Lessit to head a commission that will investigate the Shakahola massacre linked to controversial preacher Paul Makenzi.

Justice Lessit will chair the commission of inquiry tasked with probing the Shakahola tragedy, while lawyer Kioko Kilukumi has been named the commission's lead counsel.

"I, William Samoei Ruto, President and Commander-in-Chief of the Kenya Defence Forces, do direct as follows that a commission to inquire into the Shakahola tragedy is appointed," a gazette notice dated May 4 read.

Justice Mary Muhanji, Bishop Catherine Mutua, Psychiatrist Frank Njenga, lawyer Eric Gumbo, Jonathan Lodompui, Dr Wanyama Musiambu, and Albert Musasia will be members of the commission.

Kilukumi will work alongside lawyers Oliver Karori and Rachel Maina. Vivian Nyambeki and Bahati Mwamuye will be the assisting counsels.

The Commission will, among other things, inquire into the matter of the deaths, torture, and inhumane and degrading treatment of members and other persons linked to the Good News International Church in Kilifi County.

The commission will also look into the legal, administrative, security, and intelligence lapses that could have led to the Shakahola tragedy, where over 100 people have died so far after controversial preacher Makenzi instructed them to fast for long periods so they can "meet their maker."

According to the Head of State, the Shakahola massacre has brought to the fore issues of extremist organizations, cults, and sects that are threatening peace in the country, causing serious harm to Kenyans, including deaths.

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