KENYA: Religious Leaders Call Out State for Failing to Protect Shakahola Victims, Urge Mackenzie Be Treated as Individual

By Paschal Norbert

NAIROBI, MAY 5, 2023 (CISA)“Information publicly available shows that “Pastor” Paul Mackenzie has been arrested and treated casually on multiple occasions, but each time released to go and continue. For this reason, we find that the narrative being driven that those churches, and by extension, religion, need to be regulated is a façade meant to divert attention from the real problem, which is that the state has failed to play its role of dealing with crime,” stated the religious leaders in a press statement on March 3, 2023.

The leaders drawn from the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB), the National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK) and the Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims (SUPKEM), advanced that the Shakahola criminal activities carried out in the name of the Good News International Church have been going on for over 20 years and in the eye of the state.

“We call upon the government to expedite investigations and prosecute, not only Pastor Mackenzie and accomplices in his church, but also the state officers who have over the years facilitated him to engage in criminal activity through complicity or being compromised through bribery,” they appealed, adding “On our part, we are continuing with internal consultations to structure self-regulation guidelines that will cater for all religions in the country.”

The leaders in a review of the socio-political situation of the country said that Kenyans have expressed doubt on the willingness of the political actors; Kenya Kwanza and Azimio, to resolve the prevailing political instability through bi-partisan talks as earlier agreed by President William Ruto and the opposition leader Raila Odinga.

“We have found that the prevailing political instability is being driven by the divergent goals of the leading formations. On one hand, we have the government that is focused on bringing the 2022 elections to a closure; and on the other hand, we have the opposition which is focused on keeping the 2022 elections discourse open,” they said, calling on “His Excellency President William Ruto and former Prime Minister Rt Hon Raila Odinga to carefully measure their words and actions so as to promote unity and peace in the nation rather than tension and divisions.”

The religious leaders also challenged the government to explain to Kenyans the pathway out of the economic crisis the nation is experiencing that has left many people desolate and unable to fend for themselves.

“We are at a position where the government appears not to have adequate revenue to deliver on services, pay back loans or even honour salary obligations. Unfortunately, the amount of wastage in government is staggering, which is worsening the situation. We recommend that the national and county governments adopt an approach frugality by cutting off all unnecessary expenditure,” urged the faith leaders.

The leaders appealed to Kenyans to remain vigilant and to “firmly resist the incitement by political and social leaders who are focused on selfish ambitions. Instead, let each of us deliberately engage all public participation forums and opportunities, taking every chance to influence policy and decision-making process.”

“We should not leave the destiny of our families in the hands of politicians alone, and should instead adopt the mantra of “Nothing for us without us,” said the religious leaders.