Emerging reports has indicated that infamous preacher, Paul Mackenzie, is not the rightful owner of the 800-acre land in Shakahola, Kilifi County.
The expansive land in Shakahola Forest is where over 200 decomposing bodies of the preacher’s followers who starved to death were recovered.
In a statement on Tuesday, May 16, Kilifi Governor Gideon Mung’aro noted that the land is part of the third phase of the Chakama Settlement Scheme.
The county boss explained that the land allegedly owned by Mackenzie is part of the settlement scheme grabbed by shady individuals.
“When I was Malindi MP, we managed to recover phase 1 which is about 52,000 acres. We recovered phase 2 around five years ago
“The area Makenzie is occupying is Chakama 3 which is currently being contested by people who grabbed it,” Mung’aro said.
Chakama Settlement scheme
The Chakama Settlement Scheme is a land settlement scheme in Kilifi County established in the 1960s.
The settlement scheme was set up by the Kenyan government to resettle landless people from the coastal region.
It covers an area of 100,000 acres.
Over the years, Chakama Settlement Scheme has been plagued by land disputes and land grabbing.
In the 1990s, a group of individuals, including a former minister, grabbed a large portion of land in the scheme. The land was later recovered by the government, but the dispute has continued to simmer.
In recent years, the settlement scheme has been the site of violence and clashes between locals and land grabbers.
In 2017, a group of locals were attacked by land grabbers, leaving one person dead and several others injured.
The violence has led to calls for the government to take action to protect the land rights of the locals.
As earlier reported on WoK, people who know McKenzie at a personal level, he moved to Malindi in the 1990s through his sister who was married there.
On his arrival to the coastal town, he went into the taxi business, a job that he undertook until when he left to pursue religion.
“I have known McKenzie for more than 20 years. I knew him through his sister who was married to a white man. We’ve worked together, and he was not saved by the time we knew each other,” a local told KTN News.
He explained that McKenzie started engaging in religious activities when the taxi business was on a low season.
“In the taxi business, we have the high season and the low season, one time when we were in the low season, McKenzie decided to join the church and that’s how he became a pastor,” he said.
McKenzie even recruited some of his colleagues in the taxi business to his church.
According to Adede Owalla on Facebook, he started his church, Good News International, in 2003 as a small evangelical centre.
Together with his wife, Joyce Mwikamba, the couple moved to a village called Migingo in Malindi where he set up a church.
McKenzie had also, at some point, brushed shoulders with the then Malindi MP Aisha Jumwa who questioned his teachings.
Despite the controversies, he continued running his church until 2019 when he hit the headlines again forcing him to close down his church.
He sold his church, cars and TV station and moved to Shakahola where he bought land in the name of starting a farming venture.
“I have always been on the media for the wrong reasons. The media and individuals always misquote or decide to run with a story out of context. The other time I made a sermon on earthly education being evil and I was taken to court for telling children not to go to school
“This was not the case. It is a prophecy and it depends on how you take it. I can preach but I do not force the teachings on anyone,” McKenzie said in a past interview.
However, as reported on mainstream media, his followers who attended his church in Migingo were referred to Shakahola.
At his new location, MacKenzie and his team of ‘fasting supervisors’ brainwashed his followers into fasting to death to meet Jesus.