Mackenzie, 94 others to be hospitalised after staging hunger strike

A Magistrate Court in Mombasa ordered a cult leader Paul Mackenzie and 94 other co-accused persons to be taken to hospital after they staged yet another hunger strike.

In a dramatic turn of events, Mackenzie and some of his associates had refused to eat since Sunday.

However, some have not eaten for almost a week, according to prison wardens.

While being arraigned at the Mombasa Law Court on Tuesday for the hearing of the charge of 238 counts of manslaughter, the suspects could barely walk.

The 238 people are out of the 429 whose bodies were exhumed from Shakahola Forest after they allegedly fasted to death on the instructions of Mackenzie.

On Tuesday, the 95 suspects were visibly weakened after a grueling one-week starvation, and their skeletal frames were painfully evident through their emaciated skin.

They could barely walk, and prison wardens had a difficult time assisting them from the prison vehicles to the basement cells of the Mombasa Law Court building.

It emerged that all the suspects could not walk up the staircase into the courtroom, and Mombasa Chief Magistrate Alex Ithuku had to be forced to visit them at the basement cells.

“I saw the accused persons in the basement cells, some could not walk, and others could not even open their eyes. It is evident that this is a matter of urgency, and all the suspects should be escorted to a medical facility to be treated and ascertain their health status,” said Ithuku.

During the court session, defense counsel Wycliff Makasembo told the court that his clients staged a hunger strike due to a belief that the case might take too long to be concluded, and they would continue suffering at the hands of the police.

“I want to ask the court to issue an order for a social inquiry report, also known as a pre-bail report for all accused persons, which had been ordered by a Shanzu Court last year, to be available in this court. The report will help this court make an informed decision on the issue of bond,” said Makasembo.

He added, “My clients are ready to listen to you on the conditions given by this court, and I undertake to clear any discrepancies and misunderstanding that the court is being used to mistreat them. I will visit them and Shimo la Tewa and talk to them.

Lawyer, Lawrence Obonyo, who is representing Mackenzie’s wife, Rhoda Maweu, in this case, also supported a social inquiry report that should be submitted before the Mombasa Magistrate Court.

“It will not hurt to have another social inquiry report. On the delicate issue that some of them have declined to take provisions, we will talk to them,” said Obonyo.

State Counsel Victor Simbi opposed the introduction of the pre-bail report by the Shanzu Court into this new matter, saying the Mombasa Magistrate Court had the power to order another inquiry to be carried out.

Simbi made an application that all 95 suspects be escorted to a medical facility to be looked at by a qualified nutritionist and a medical doctor.

Mombasa Chief Magistrate also ordered the pre-bail report by the Shanzu Magistrate Court to be available in this new case.

The court granted the application to have all the suspects taken to the hospital, and said that in the next hearing on March 5, the case will be heard virtually.

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