Kindiki confident of Shakahola case

Wednesday, June 7th, 2023 07:20 | By
Kindiki confident of Shakahola case
Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki in Shakahola, Kilifi County on Tuesday, June 6, 2023. PHOTO/(@KindikiKithure)Twitter

Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki said yesterday that the government has “a proper case” finding Shakahola starvation cult leader Paul Mackenzie and all his collaborators culpable for multiple serious crimes including genocide, crimes against humanity and extermination among others.

He made the claims even as the death toll rose to 251 bodies after nine more bodies were exhumed on the first day of the third phase yesterday.

Kindiki told  the press after overseeing the commencement of the exhumation exercise that for the first time in history, the country would witness local judicial institutions prosecute international crimes.

“Therefore we are giving effect to a number of our laws that have never been tested locally before. One is the International Crimes Act of 2008, which criminalizes genocide, crimes against humanity extermination and other crimes. Number two, we will be implementing locally, the Rome statute of the international criminal court article six and seven on genocide and crimes against humanity because that treaty is part of the laws of our country by virtue of article two paragraph five of the constitution. Our investigative agencies have assured us that we have a proper case against Mr Mackenzie and his collaborators and it is a matter of time before they face their destiny,” CS said in Shakahola terming the case against Mackenzie as “a case like no other.”

According to Kindiki, “the government cannot afford to lose the case on the Shakahola massacre.

Prosecution agencies

“This case must be won. The government and the prosecution agencies of Kenya cannot afford to lose this case. The assurance I give Kenyans is that we will bring to book the perpetrators. What has happened here is not a small matter for Kenya, and humanity all over the world,” he said.

In the light of the above, Kindiki said the scene of crime in Shakahola will be taken over by the Government as a national memorial after the investigations are done and dusted.

“Because of what happened here, the scene cannot be reverted to any normal human activity. As soon as the investigation is complete this place will be converted to a national memorial. It will be a place of remembrance lest we forget what has happened to humanity here,” he said: “Government in consultation with members of the public including the local community will convert this scene of crime into a place of remembrance so that many generations to come many centuries into the future Kenya and the World will never forget that there was this kind of outrage on humanity. This is not a place that can be reverted into ranching, farming or any other human activity because the souls of our brothers and sisters, adults and children we lost here, require much more dignity than that.”

The third phase of exhumation exercise kicked off yesterday following the conclusion of the postmortem for 129 bodies exhumed in the second phase.

The search and rescue operation has turned out to be a complex multi-agency operation that has now roped services of the Kenya Defense forces (KDF) who are now being involved in opening up security roads within the Shakahola Forest to bolster accessibility and aid the search.

Temporary camp

By yesterday, the KDF who had set up a temporary camp within the Chakama ranch were busy with graders.

Government surveyors have established that the area of interest that was under Mackenzie and his followers is 3,716 acres, out of a total of 37,921 acres that are now under focus.

According to Kindiki, the area will be demarcated into 200 and 500 acres which will be made accessible by security roads.

“We have been supported by KDF so that we can have systematic search and rescue operations. We are keen to tell the world exactly what happened in our soil. We have nothing to hide. On the search and rescue and identification of graves, the exercise is going on in accordance with international standards.

Operations of this kind cannot be done instantaneously because they require time,” said Kindiki calling for patience.

According to Kindiki, for a long period of time the search and rescue operation has not been able to record cases of survivors signifying that the number of victims that are alive in the forest could diminish.

 “So far 93 DNA samples have been collected and we are asking families to bear with us because processing of DNA takes time” said the CS.

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