A former follower of Shakahola cult leader Paul Mackenzie on Wednesday, May 3 came out to reveal that the self-proclaimed preacher had duped him into purchasing a piece of land.
During an interview with Citizen TV, the former follower alleged that more than 1,500 people who trooped to Shakahola forest were not only tricked into buying land but also duped into fasting to death.
This is as new details emerged regarding Pastor Mackenzie carrying out funerals for his deceased followers, with the man adding that some followers were made to sell their property.
He further noted that those who bought land were unaware that it was the start of the end for them as the indoctrination of Paul Mackenzie was slow, methodical and deadly.
“Personally, the pastor tried to sell to me a piece of land, and there are many, almost 90, who bought land. Others sold their property. There are those who fast until they die, and also at home, I suspect people have died out of belief, they don’t do medications, they hold on to belief,” he said.
He further pointed a finger at Mackenzie for failing to lead by example, that he was a sayer of his teachings instead of a doer and only fasting twice a week and convincing followers that he would be the last to die.
He estimated that the number of families was upwards of 300, as well as a total of 1,500 people who held on to Mackenzie’s every word.
Followers began fasting in January 2023, with their bodies withering with every passing week. By March, the deaths began with the body count rising per day, with the victim disclosing that children who resisted the fast would be suffocated or strangled to death.
“When they were many people, it becomes a problem digging more than one grave,” he said, adding that Paul Mackenzie was present during the funerals, overseeing the digging of the graves as they prepared to lay deceased followers to rest.
Post-mortem results released on Wednesday showed that four more people were killed in Shakahola, with three children and an adult either hit by a blunt object or suffocated; according to the findings from 36 bodies that were examined by pathologists working at the Malindi sub-county mortuary.
“16 of the examined persons were children while 19 were adults. We could not ascertain the specific age of one of the victims. The number of males was 17 while the females were 19. Four of them had asphyxia prior to death. Three were children while one was an adult. There were obvious signs of strangulation on their bodies,” Chief Government Pathologist Dr Johansen Oduor said.
The results also showed that 23 of the deceased died of starvation, with autopsies so far done on 76 out of 109 bodies from the Shakahola graves.