Kenya: who is Paul Mackenzie Nthenge, “pastor” accused of pushing his followers to fast until death?

Twenty-six new bodies were exhumed on Sunday April 23 in eastern Kenya, bringing to more than 70 the number of remains discovered for more than a week in the investigation into the deaths of followers of a sect whose leader would have said to fast for “to meet Jesus”. The toll could rise. More than 110 followers of the sect are still missing.

Few things are known about this man. He is a former taxi driver from the tourist town of Malindi. He is the founder of the International Church of Good News in 2003. This “pastor” is convinced to have spiritual and prophetic power” and to witness“Appearances of Jesus” according to the Kenyan newspaper the Daily Nation.

With branches in several parts of Kenya, the International Church of Good News claimed more than 3,000 members, including a thousand in the coastal town of Malindi where it was based. His sermons revolved around preparing for the end times.

“The mission of this ministry is to nurture the faithful holistically in all areas of Christian spirituality as we prepare for the second coming of Jesus Christ through teaching and evangelism”can we read on the site of the sect .

3000 members

Paul Mackenzie Nthenge broadcast a program called “End Times Messages” evoking “the teachings, sermons and prophecies on the end of time, commonly called eschatology”. He asserted “to bring the Gospel of our LORD Jesus Christ free from deception and from the intellect of Man”.

He also launched a YouTube channel in 2017, where you can find videos of his sermons in his church in Malindi, where he notably warned his followers against the practices “demonic” such as wearing wigs and cashless digital transactions.

He has been in the crosshairs of the authorities for many years. In 2017, he had already been detained for advocating school absenteeism to many children. He justified this by saying that education was not recognized in the Bible.

That year, Paul Mackenzie Nthenge was arrested for the first time for “radicalization”for advocating not putting children in school, claiming that education was not recognized by the Bible.

He claims to have closed his church two years later to settle in the forest village of Shakahola. “I had the revelation that the time to stop had come,” he declared on March 25 to the daily The Nation. “I just pray with myself and those who have chosen to believe”he assured.

Two children died of starvation while in the care of their parents, both followers of the sect.

73 bodies found

The Kenyan press mainly denounces “the flaws in the Kenyan judicial system” as The Standard. He had been again “arrested in mid-March after two young boys died of starvation, but the police had not charged him”, according to a lawyer quoted by the newspaper. Local media say Paul Mackenzie Nthenge was arrested and later released on $670 bail. He has been detained again since April 15.

Kenya: who is Paul Mackenzie Nthenge, “pastor” accused of pushing his followers to fast until death?