The media stayed out from covering proceedings as the trial of Paul Mackenzie who is accused of radicalising hundreds of his followers to fast to their deaths to meet Jesus Christ kicked off at the Shanzu courts in Kilifi.  

The first witness who was a minor took the court through the events that occured at the Shakahola forest between 2022 and 2023 when the followers entered the forest for the fast that later turned deadly, with mass graves unearthed in the vast forest.

Mackenzie of the Good News International Church, together with his wife Rhoda Maweu  and 93 others are believed to have provided a platform for radicalization of hundreds of followers who later perished while fasting. Mackenzie, Maweu, Smart MWakalama and his wife Mary Kadzo and 28 others were charged with the offence of engaging in organized criminal activities thereby endangering the lives and leading to the deaths of 429 people.

Another group consisting Baron Chahenza and 63 others is charged with radicalization with the state acusing them of adopting an extreme belief system for facilitation of ideologically based violence namely fasting to death.

Shanzu Principal Magistrate Leah Juma will hear the case for the next three dyas until July 11 and thereafter take an 11 day break before resuming the hearing on the 22nd of July.