As detectives continue to exhume bodies from a vast forested area in Shakahola associated with the Good News International church and its leader Paul Mackenzie, questions arise regarding police and judicial officials’ possible involvement in the crimes, as well as Mackenzie’s history of legal troubles. The body count stands at 109, with more expected as the investigation continues.
The Judiciary has released information regarding charges filed against Mackenzie and his co-accused, dating back to March 2017 when he and two others were charged with offering basic education in an unregistered institution. They entered into a plea bargain and were discharged. In 2017, he was also held for seven days on accusations of radicalizing children.
Mackenzie faced four charges in October 2017, including failure to take his children to school, but was acquitted in 2021. He was again charged in April 2019 with incitement and distributing films that had not been approved by the Kenya Film Classification Board. This case will have a defense hearing in June 2023.
Several miscellaneous criminal applications connected Mackenzie to the current Shakahola investigations, and the Judicial Service Commission is investigating whether any judicial officers handling Mackenzie’s cases were involved in misconduct. The Good News International Church was involved in a children protection and care matter in October 2017 and a criminal case in March 2019.
These legal troubles serve as a backdrop to the ongoing investigation and exhumation, leading to further scrutiny and questions regarding Mackenzie and his church’s activities in the past two decades.