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Shakahola Massacre: Mackenzie’s Followers Viewed Death as ‘Wedding Uniting Them to Jesus’


 -A Shakahola Massacre survivor claims that cult leader Paul Mackenzie portrayed starving as a lovely path to meeting Christ.

-Mackenzie conducted tens of burials as his followers starved to death, strangled their children, or murdered by his enforcers.

A Shakahola Massacre victim has described the horrible acts that cult followers were subjected to by their leader, Paul Mackenzie.

The survivor claimed that Mackenzie used his charm and charisma to seduce his followers into starving and ultimately dying.

The teen who spoke to Nation said that Mackenzie would make his followers eagerly anticipate the journey, the goal of which was to starve themselves to death and then meet Jesus in eternal bliss.

According to the survivor named Alex, Mackenzie’s cult had a structured organization that made sure that nobody—not even the authorities—interfered with its operations.

He said Mackenzie’s enforcers saw to it that no one avoided the strict fasting and Bible reading program that at first lasted up to 72 hours with minimal rest.

The enforcers would also ensure that no outsiders entered the area where the fasting and killings were taking place.

Mackenzie is alleged to have bribed law enforcement officials who inquired about his operations.


Shakahola cult leader Paul Mackenzie. Photo/courtesy

Crying children

Alex says that Mackenzie presided over several “harusi,” or wedding ceremonies in Swahili, which was a codename for the dozens of burials he performed every day as his adherents starved to death, strangled their children, or were killed by his enforcers.

Alex further disclosed that Mackenzie frequently made trips to the Shakahola base and urged his followers to “persevere in their hunger with the promise that Jesus would soon reward them.”

He noted that children who showed stubbornness were sometimes beaten and threatened with being thrown in the bush.

The suvivor said children persevered through biting hunger pangs, for crying would see them thrown in the cold bush.

“In the month of February 2023, all youngsters under the age of 15 were required to begin fasting. The start date for our parents was March 15,” he claims.

 Death plan

He claimed that youngsters under the age of 15 were dying quickly as part of Mackenzie’s death plan, which he referred to as weddings. Then those who are 16 or older, followed by women and males.

Mackenzie would be the last person to meet Jesus.

According to Alex, “He wanted men to be the last to die so they could help with preparing graves and burying the dead.”

“In Shakahola, a burial was taken to be a wedding ceremony because one was uniting with the Lord,” Alex said.

“I recall the time in March when we went to the funerals of 11 kids who had all passed away on the same day. Alex claimed,” Mackenzie told the locals that the devil was angry and crying because they had all gone straight to heaven.

The intention was to motivate the members to “shame the devil and let more of their children die and meet Jesus.”

“Thereafter, the number kept growing as the days passed,” he claimed, “with a subsequent burial having a record 31 children.”

READ ALSO: Shakahola: Nigerian Man Recounts Horror of Losing Wife to Mackenzie’s Cult

More than 200 bodies have been exhumed in connection to the Shakahola cult, and 600 more are reportedly missing.

 At least 65 survivors have so far been rescued from the Shakahola forest.

President apologises

On Sunday, May 14, President Ruto apologised for the Shakahola massacre and acknowledged government culpability.

As President, I accept responsibility for these Shakahola murders, which should not have occurred. We will investigate this thoroughly; I guarantee the Kenyan people,” President Ruto added.

Ruto blamed the National Intelligence Service (NIS), Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI), National Police Service, local chiefs and their assistants, and Nyumba Kumi elders for failing to promptly uncover the cult’s activities.

He promised that the commissions of inquiry established would discover the truth and that anyone found responsible would be punished.

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