Mackenzie enjoyed Bible stories at a tender age, family says

Pastor Paul Mackenzie in a Malindi court on Monday, April, 17, 2023. [Nehemiah Okwemba, Standard]

In the 1960s, the family of preacher Paul Makenzi migrated from Ikalaasa in Kibauni constituency, Machakos County.

Inquiries about Makenzi’s family background and history from multiple sources, including close relatives and public officers in the provincial administration, remained scarce, even as the country grappled  with the shocking revelation of mass deaths resulting from his church in Shakahola, Kilifi County.

Makenzi’s father, Makenzi Kisini, and his nuclear family, left their ancestral property some 50 years ago and migrated to Mombasa, where he was working at the time, according to the area chief, Esther Mutua.

“The family moved to Mombasa in the 1960s and had not returned to its roots since.

Little known

“Indeed, until the senior Makenzi died and was buried back in the family land in 2010, the majority of the residents here knew little about them,” said the chief.

The chief’s story was supported by Makenzi Snr’s younger brother, Jacob Samuka, who verified that he (Makenzi Snr) moved his family to Mombasa in the 1960s and worked as a contractor.

“Even Makenzi, the pastor, was born in Mombasa. He also went to school there, and they rarely went home. I met him years later, in 1973 when he (Pastor Makenzi) was a young boy,” Samuka said.

Francis Kimende, the preacher’s maternal uncle, said he lived with Makenzi for a year in Mombasa and hosted him during his high school years.

“I lived with the boy in my house for a year when he was a day scholar before he was transferred to Lunga Lunga, where he boarded,” Kimende said.

Losing first wife

The uncle said he met Makenzi in Malindi in 2009 while attending the burial of Makenzi’s first wife. “That’s when I found out he was running a church called Good News International,” he said.

During the days he interacted with Makenzi, he observed him to be a “good and obedient” young man. “In general, he was a good-natured young man. When he wasn’t busy with schoolwork, he enjoyed reading Bible stories,” he continued.

Kimende said he had never visited Makenzi’s ranch in Shakahola, despite hearing that he had a large farm near Kilifi.