Kenya: JSC Probes Possible Misconduct By Judicial Officers in Pastor Mackenzie’s Previous Cases
Nairobi — The Judicial Service Commission (JSC) is examining court records to establish whether there was any misconduct on the part of Judicial Officers and staff who handled the case against controversial televangelist Paul Mackenzie who has been linked to the “Shakahola Forest Massacre.”
Pastor Mackenzie is currently being held by authorities on allegations of driving his followers to death by preaching that starvation was the only path to God following the discovery of dozens of bodies buried in Shakahola forest near the coastal town of Malindi.
The move comes after it emerged that the leader of Good News International Ministries had been arrested before, on similar allegations before being released by the courts, a discovery that has angered most Kenyans and leaders as the number of victims linked to a suspected starvation cult rose to 103 Thursday following the exhumation of 5 more bodies.
A section of leaders and Kenyans have questioned why Mackenzie got away easy despite the weight of his alleged crime with some speculating that some judicial officers and security agents could have been bribed by the preacher.
“The Judiciary reaffirms its commitment to upholding the Constitution and the rule of law in the administration of justice,” the judiciary which is led by Chief justice Martha Koome said Thursday.
According to the Judiciary, Mackenzie was first arraigned on October 17, 2017 where he was charged with radicalization, for promoting extreme beliefs, offering education in unregistered institutions, failing to take his children to compulsory primary and secondary education and failing to provide the children with education.
In 2019, the preacher faced other charges at the Malindi Magistrate’s Court while few of his followers were also charged on various occasions with child neglect.
The Judiciary also revealed that the complaints against Mackenzie and his co-accused were discussed by stakeholders in the justice chain led by the then Presiding Judge at the Malindi law Courts under the auspice of the Kilifi County Court Users Committee (CUC) in its Quarterly meeting of November 15, 2019.
“The CUC discussed the issue of radicalization of children by Pastor Mackenzie through his church and TV station. The issue was escalated to the National Government Implementation Committee and the Communications Authority, and the CUC was advised the matter had been forwarded to the Cabinet for discussion in the coming weeks,” said the Judiciary.
As a result, the TV station’s licence was then revoked by the Communications Authority.
However, according to the judiciary, no feed-back was given on the proposal by the CUC to have the church de-registered or the decision by the Cabinet on the issue.