Controversial preacher Paul Mackenzie’s sinister activities in the secluded Shakahola Forest have been exposed in a recent report presented in the Senate.
The preacher chose Shakahola Forest to advance his activities due to its remoteness and seclusion, a report tabled in the Senate says.
The report, compiled by an 11-member team chaired by Tana River Senator Danson Mungatana, revealed disturbing details of Mackenzie’s cult operation deep within the forest, 16 kilometers away from the nearest village.
Once inside Mackenzie’s self-established villages, followers were prohibited from leaving or interacting with each other.
The report disclosed that adherents were coerced into destroying crucial documents, including national identity cards, birth certificates, property titles, academic credentials, and marriage certificates. This deliberate obliteration of identities led to complications in identifying survivors who denied their previous lives.
Furthermore, the report outlined the forced fasting of followers, with lactating mothers denied the right to breastfeed their infants.
The cult’s brutal enforcers, referred to as the “enforcers,” ensured compliance, resorting to violence against those who defied the fasting directives or attempted to escape. These dissenters met gruesome fates, either strangled or beaten to death.
During the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, the report noted an alarming surge in recruitment efforts. Mackenzie exploited this crisis, urging followers to prepare for the purported end of the world.
The cult members were organized into specific groups, with children, women, and then men undergoing fasting in preparation for Mackenzie’s prophecy of ascension to heaven.
To guard against external interference, Mackenzie employed an enforcement/vigilante group equipped with motorcycles. The vigilantes, known as “enforcers,” fiercely protected the cult’s secrecy. Attempted infiltrations led to confrontations, resulting in the torching of motorcycles and further violence.
Inside the forest, different areas were named after biblical cities, emphasizing the cult’s warped religious beliefs. Strong cult members were assigned to a city called Sidon, while other villages were named Jericho, Bethlehem, and Babylon. The armed enforcers dug shallow graves to bury those who succumbed to starvation or the brutality of their punishments.
Fortunately, some individuals managed to escape the cult’s clutches, thanks to the intervention of Orma herders and neighboring communities.