HomeShakahola MassacreKenya Conference of Catholic Bishops Demands Stronger Regulation of Rogue Pastors in...

Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops Demands Stronger Regulation of Rogue Pastors in the Wake of Shakahola Massacre

The Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB) has called for stronger laws to regulate the establishment and operation of religious organizations in the country. This comes in the wake of the tragedy in Shakahola, Kilifi County, where members of the Good News International Church, led by Pastor Paul Mackenzie Nthenge, were instructed to starve themselves in order to “meet Jesus”. The death toll in this incident continues to rise.

The KCCB has urged the government to review the Religious Societies Rules 2015 and strengthen the self-regulation provision that is currently in place. They argue that some churches have resisted leadership structures and systems, making it difficult to self-regulate effectively. The bishops believe that a stronger regulatory mechanism would have prevented the likes of Pastor Mackenzie from engaging in acts of mass suicide and exploiting the gullibility of Kenyans.

KCCB Chairperson Martin Kivuva said, “Such a review should help to identify the weak legal and religious links that cult leaders have been exploiting to brainwash their unsuspecting followers.” He also noted that Mackenzie’s church had been allowed to propagate its dangerous doctrine for a long time, leading to the loss of many lives. The state security machinery was completely unaware of the church’s activities.

The bishops have expressed their concern about the worrying reality in Kenya, where self-proclaimed prophets and cultic leaders exploit gullible Kenyans in the name of religion. They see the Shakahola massacre as a tragic example of the consequences of weak regulations and self-regulation mechanisms.

According to authorities, the Shakahola Massacre has claimed 58 lives, with 29 people rescued alive as detectives comb through the area. Fourteen members of the cult have also been arrested. Mackenzie was charged last month after two children died of starvation while in their parents’ care and is still in police custody.

The KCCB has called on the government to ensure that such rogue pastors are exposed in good time and denied the opportunity to perpetuate their dangerous acts. A review of the proposed state laws should help to identify the legal and religious links that cult leaders exploit to brainwash their unsuspecting followers. The bishops have condemned the actions of Mackenzie’s church and called for stronger regulations to prevent such tragedies from happening again.

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