Kindiki declares Makenzi's church organised criminal group

Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki has gazetted controversial preacher Paul Makenzi's Good News International Ministries as an organised criminal group.

The CS in gazette a notice issued on Wednesday said the declaration is in accordance with Section 22(1) of the Prevention of Organised Crimes Act.

The latest move by Prof Kindiki now puts the church in the same rank as Mombasa Republican Council MRC, Mungiki, Sungu Sungu and other proscribed criminal groups in the country. 

“In exercise of the powers conferred by section 22 (1) of the Prevention of Organized Crimes Act, the Cabinet Secretary for Interior and National Administration declares Good News International Ministries to be an organized criminal group for the Act,” read the notice.

Under the Act, Makenzi as the head of the outlawed criminal group stands to be fined Sh5 million or to serve a term not exceeding 15 years in prison. And if a member of the group dies upon conviction, he shall serve imprisonment for life.

Makenzi, his wife and 93 associates are facing various charges ranging from manslaughter, terrorism, radicalisation, child torture and abuse.

The controversial preacher has been accused of endangering the lives of his followers by leading them to fast to their death to meet Jesus thereby leading to the deaths of 429 members and followers of Good News International (GNI) Ministries in Shakohola forest, Kilifi county.

The state has claimed that GNI was an organized criminal group between 2020 and 2023 in the Kwa Makenzi area of Shakahola forest in Chakama.

The prosecution said the group promoted an extreme belief system to facilitate ideologically based violence of fasting to death by advancing religious change.

Makenzi was arrested in April last year and detained with 30 associates after it emerged his followers were fasting to death to go to heaven.

Sixty five of his followers who were rescued from Shakahola in deplorable health declined to testify against him and have since been charged alongside Makenzi.

On January 18, Makenzi, Maweu, and 93 others were charged with terrorism charges and radicalization at Shanzu Law Courts.

On January 23, the controversial preacher, his wife, and 93 associates denied 238 counts of manslaughter.

On January 25 Makenzi and 37 parents were charged with 17 counts of child torture, assault and causing bodily harm, cruelty to children, and infringing a child’s right to education.

The state has lined up 17 children as state witnesses in the child torture charges.

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