The two churches owned by preachers Paul Mackenzie and Ezekiel Odero now face imminent closure.
This is after the Deputy Registrar of Societies Maria Goretti Nyariki issued cancellation notices to Good News and New Life Prayer Centre churches for non-compliance with registration laws.
Appearing before the Senate ad Hoc Committee on the Shakahola massacre when it begun its sittings today, Nyariki told the Danson Mungatana-led team that Mackenzie’s church had been compliant since its registration in 2010, until 2022, when an attempt was made to change its name.
Mackenzie was also to resign as church chairman. Odero’s church has meanwhile, not filed any returns since its registration on September 11, 2012, and has thus been deemed non-compliant.
The two churches have now been issued with a 30-day show cause notice why they should not be deregistered. Attorney General Justin Muturi stated that there is a need for the society act to be revised to ensure the regulation of churches.
“When the bodies applying for registration meet the threshold that is the Act, that is generally the legal regime that defines the current situation. And that perhaps may also explain why there has been such massive deliberation of such societies that you have seen…including and not limited to the clergies of Good News International Church and also New Life International Church, and many others. It’s because the regime under which they are registered is loose. They are governed by a law that was passed so many years ago”, Muturi explained.
Meanwhile the Shanzu Law Court has allowed police to detain Pastor Mackenzie his wife Rhoda Maweu and their 16 followers detained for 30 days pending an investigation into the Shakahola massacre.
As at yesterday, the death toll at the Shakahola Forest had hit 133 as detectives exhume 21 more bodies from the mass graves. The authorities said another 566 people reported missing.