The office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) says that there is sufficient evidence to try the Shakahola massacre-linked Pastor Mackenzie with terrorism. The charge of ‘facilitating the commission of a terrorist act’ will accompany a further 9 criminal charges that will be levelled at Mackenzie and 94 other people linked to the Shakahola massacre.
Pastor Paul Mackenzie and his co-conspirators have been in custody since may of last year. During which time, detectives from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations have been building their case against the leader of the Good News International Church.
The Shakahola massacre: the case against Pastor Mackenzie
Pastor Paul Mackenzie’s Good News International was arrested in April of last year after the discovery of hundreds of bodies on properties linked to him and his church. Since, the bodies of 429 people have been dug up on various grave sites.
Many of the bodies showed signs of starvation and Mr. Mackenzie is alleged to have encouraged members of his church to fast in order that they could get into heaven. His church and the movement that it is built upon has, on occasion, been called a starvation death cult.
The case that the DCI have been building will have to prove that Pastor Mackenzie and the other 94 people linked to the church have a criminal level of culpability when it comes to the deaths of the 429 church members.
Therein lies the difficulty. Proving that Pastor Mackenzie had a hand in the deaths of these church adherents simply by convincing them to starve themselves to death is going to be difficult.
According to Britain’s the BBC, however, investigators have now “gathered enough evidence” to charge him with the criminal charges they have levelled against him. What’s more, the DPP, it seems, agrees.
It is thought that the terrorism-linked charges which will be levelled at Pastor Mackenzie will be in relation to legislation drafted under the Prevention of Terrorism Act of 2012 and the Prevention of Organised Crime Act of 2010. The charges of terrorism are likely to be linked to legislation against radicalisation or perhaps facilitating criminal acts.
We will simply have to see what comes out in court.