Paul Makenzi, 28 co-accused to remain in custody for another 47 days

Paul Makenzi at the Malindi Magistrates Court in March 2023. [Nehemiah Okwembah, Standard]

Controversial preacher Paul Makenzi and 28 of his followers will spend another 47 days at Shimo La Tewa Prisons pending the completion of investigations.

Senior State Prosecutor Jami Yamina said police were on the final stretch of investigations before finally charging Makenzi and the other suspects with an array of charges including murder.

Yamina told Senior Principal Magistrate Yusuf Shikanda that the families of Makenzi's followers were enraged over the disappearance of their children.

He said there are over 20 children with whom the suspects left their homes and are still unaccounted for.

On Thursday, Shikanda allowed the State to continue detaining Makenzi and his followers for a further 47 days until the investigations are complete.

"In view of the foregoing, I find merit in the application by the State. Consequently, the application by the State for extension of custodial orders is allowed," ruled Shikanda.

The magistrate also ordered the National Secretary of Probation and Aftercare Services to conduct a social inquiry report on each of the respondents and submit the same in court within 30 days.

He also ordered the officers in charge of Shimo La Tewa, Kilifi, and Malindi GK Prisons to grant access to the investigators for purposes of conducting further interviews and recording statements.

The magistrate however declined to allow for additional Advocates by the National Legal Aid Service and said that Makenzi and his followers were already represented by counsel, and there is no demonstration of any substantial injustice likely to occur if they are not accorded such further representation.

Yamina said that the families of the respondents were not yet ready to receive them because of the missing children which is considered a curse and might need cleansing.

"It is not known where some of the children belonging to the respondents were and the families of the respondents are yet to come to terms with the loss or idea of their missing loved ones and they might not be willing and ready to accommodate them," said Yamina.

On August 4, Makenzi expressed fears over his life and that he is likely to suffer food poisoning from being fed separate meals after he was separated from his followers.

Makenzi said he was ready to die with his followers with whom he has been detained for 90 days since they were arrested.

"I want the court to order that I be brought back to the common area and be given the same food served to other inmates. I have been in the dark for two days and I fear for my life," he said.

Yamina accused Makenzi of being mischievous and attempting to start a church in Shimo la Tewa.

"He wants to turn the prison into a church where he can continue to preach to other followers how the tribulations they are going through shall end," the prosecutor argued.

However, Makenzi refuted the accusations and asked the court to order CCTV footage to establish where he has conducted a church service.

"I found a church already in place. I am being persecuted and if the court cannot help us, we are ready to go to River Yala," said Makenzi.