In a shocking revelation, the Office of the Director of Prosecutions (ODPP) has announced that ninety-five suspects, including the alleged mastermind Pastor Paul Mackenzie, are set to face a total of nine charges in connection with the gruesome Shakahola massacre.
The charges encompass a range of offenses under various legal statutes, painting a harrowing picture of the extent of the crimes committed.
The suspects, as revealed by the investigative branch in a statement on Tuesday, will be presented before both the High Court and Subordinate Court.
Among the charges they will be facing are murder, manslaughter, and assault causing bodily harm – all offenses under the Penal Code Cap 63.
However, the list doesn’t end there, as the accused will also be charged with engaging in organized criminal activity, radicalization,
and facilitating the commission of a terrorist act, violating the Prevention of Terrorism Act, 2012, and the Prevention of Organized Crimes Act, 2010.
The legal web extends further to include charges under the Children Act, 2001, the Prevention of Torture Act, 2017, and the Basic Education Act, 2013.
The suspects will be held accountable for subjecting a child to torture, cruelty to a child, and infringing a child’s right to education.
The severity and diversity of the charges reflect the heinous nature of the acts associated with the Shakahola massacre.
The backdrop to these impending legal proceedings involves a cult led by Pastor Paul Mackenzie, where over 420 bodies were exhumed as of November 21, 2023.
Shockingly, followers were allegedly urged to starve themselves to death in a bid to ‘meet Jesus.’
The magnitude of the tragedy and the manipulation of followers have sent shockwaves through the community.
The urgency to press charges became evident on January 9, when the state was granted a 14-day window to file charges against Pastor Mackenzie and 17 other suspects linked to the massacre.
Senior Principal Magistrate Y. Shikanda’s ruling at the Shanzu court highlighted the unprecedented 117-day detention of the suspects – a record in Kenyan history, at least since the adoption of the 2010 constitution.
As the legal proceedings unfold, the nation awaits justice for the victims of the Shakahola massacre, hoping that the legal system will bring to light the truth behind this disturbing cult and hold those responsible accountable for their actions.
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