A Kenyan preacher, Paul Mackenzie, has revealed that his family was not part of the ‘40-day fast to see Jesus’ that led to the death of more than 200 of his followers. He also claimed that he did not coerce anyone to starve themselves to death.
The pastor, who is based in Kilifi, has been under police custody since he was arrested last month. He is facing charges of running a cult and causing the death of his followers by making them fast until they died. He then buried their corpses in mass and individual graves on a large piece of land in Shakahola that he owns.
The government of Kenya formed a rescue team that included detectives and other officials. They dug up 22 more bodies on Saturday, May 13, bringing the death toll to over 200 and still rising.
The authorities believe that the preacher has been operating in the Shakahola forest for more than 10 years before he was arrested. However, Mackenzie denied having a church in the area to the police.
He said: “There is no church building in Shakahola. I bought the land and sold it to members, and some have not paid yet.”
The Director of Public Prosecution asked for the pastor to be held for 90 days to allow for investigations and to protect his safety. However, Shanzu Principal Magistrate Yusuf Shikanda ordered him to be remanded for 30 days.