Paul Mackenzie: His Ministry and The Shakahola Cult

Paul Mackenzie; His Ministry and The Shakahola Cult (News Central TV)b

Paul Mackenzie founded Good News International Ministries in 2003. Mackenzie worked as a taxi driver in Nairobi from 1997 to 2003 before the church was founded. During that time, he was charged four times for his sermons but was never proven guilty owing to a lack of evidence.  

Mackenzie and his wife relocated to Malindi’s Migingo Village as the church started to flourish. He gained a sizable following partly because he persuaded his congregation that he could speak directly with God.

In 2016, unverified allegations state that a church member sold their property on Lamu Island for Ksh20 million to the pastor. Paul Mackenzie was said to use this cash to fund a television station to broadcast his message and to buy real estate in the cities of Mombasa and Malindi, along with two automobiles. 

Following the encouragement of some followers, additional members sold their homes and made financial contributions to the church.

In addition to being accused of obstructing children’s access to healthcare and education, Paul Mackenzie and his deceased wife, Joyce Mwikamba, were also accused of operating an unlicensed school and television station, the latter of which led to the closure of the television station the following year by the Kenyan Film Classification Board. 

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Lots of children were said to have died due to a lack of medical attention, and in 2017, federal agents rescued 93 children from Mackenzie’s church. 

Community leaders, including the then-Malindi MP Aisha Jumwa and other activists, criticised him for encouraging children to drop out of school without parental permission.

The Shakahola Cult Scandal

Paul Mackenzie; His Ministry and The Shakahola Cult (News Central TV)

It was reported that a man’s wife and daughter left Nairobi to join Paul Mackenzie in his isolated commune in Kilifi County, but failed to return. He contacted authorities in the early weeks of April 2023. Emaciated people and shallow graves were found when authorities approached the neighbourhood to conduct an investigation. 

The police were able to rescue fifteen members of the gang, who revealed that they had been told to starve themselves to death in order to “meet Jesus.” Four of the 15 followers passed away before they could be taken to a hospital due to their bad health.

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The numerous graves discovered are allegedly packed with the remains of believers who may have perished from starvation. Detectives have erected a camp in Malindi’s Shakahola Forest for the third day in an effort to release the supporters of Paul Mackenzie and unearth victims buried there. Even some of the followers who had already experienced salvation claimed they didn’t want salvation because they wanted to go to heaven, as their preacher had promised.

Several denominational religious leaders have criticised Paul Mackenzie for this, and even the president, William Ruto, has commented on it, causing concerns throughout the country.

Investigators discovered Branham’s teaching pamphlets, which were shown in a news report.  Videos advocating the seed doctrine were found on Mackenzie’s YouTube account, which is utilised by white supremacists to subjugate people of colour and hinder racial integration. 

The teachings of Mackenzie have been characterised as being strongly anti-Western and emphasising end-time doomsday prophecies. Paul Mackenzie railed against the “evils of western existence,” which he defined as including “the uselessness of life,” medical care, education, food, sports, and music. He described the Catholic Church, the US, and the UN as instruments of Satan in the song “The Antichrist.” 

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Paul Mackenzie believed that the Kenyan biometric ID system called Huduma Namba was the mark of the beast, in alignment with the teachings of Branham. He echoed conspiracy theories among his followers, insisting the end of the world was imminent.

Although Kenyans have made up the majority of the group’s members, others also hail from Tanzania, Uganda, and Nigeria.

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