Controversial Malindi preacher arrested for radicalising students

A police officer escorts Pastor Paul Makenzi after being arrested for radicalising students in his church in Malindi on September 30, 2017. /ALPHONCE GARI
A police officer escorts Pastor Paul Makenzi after being arrested for radicalising students in his church in Malindi on September 30, 2017. /ALPHONCE GARI

An evangelist was arrested in Malindi on Saturday for allegedly preaching radical Christian and Islamic teachings to school children in his church.

Pastor Paul Makenzi of Good News International Ministries church was reportedly holding 53 students, aged between 10 and 35 years, at his church.

Police raided the church and managed to rescue the students who had abandoned their homes to follow the pastor's teachings.

During the arrest, both the pastor and some of the students attempted to preach the radical teachings to the security officers.

They tried to justify that what the evangelist was doing was right before police recovered bibles, Quran, textbooks, and some files.

Most of the students had quit various schools in Malindi to join the pastor’s radical teachings claiming the formal education was wrong.

Malindi OCPD Matawa Muchangi said they arrested the pastor following reports of extreme religious teachings which made the children drop out of school.

Of those rescued, 35 children were under 10 years, 28 under 16 years and 13 adults aged 18 to 35 years.

Muchangi said the training was on topics which are against Christian teachings.

"We received complaints from the neighborhood that the pastor's teaching was demonic and should not be encouraged," he said.

Residents hailed police for acting on the matter saying parents have lost control over their children who dropped out of school to live with the preacher.

Harrison Thoya from Furunzi village said it is unfortunate that the police acted after many students were radicalised and dropped out of school.

"Members of the public have been calling upon the government to revoke the evangelist's license," he said.

Muchangi said some of the children, after being interrogated, revealed that education was satanic and had to leave their homes and families to follow the pastor.

He said they are looking for the parents of the children to help police with investigations.

It also emerged that the preacher has been asking his followers not to seek medical attention, education or even participate in elections terming them as devilish.

Nelson Baya, a parent of three children who dropped out of school after they begun staying at the church, said his children are unruly and hate their family.

His two children, one in form four and another in form two, refused to go to school claiming education had no value according to their doctrine.

In the church, the children are reportedly being taught to solely depend on God and are made to believe that teachers and education officers are evil.

Locals said some of the radicalised adults have been destroying their certificates while those married abandoned their families to come and live in the church.

Good News International Church has thousands of followers from Malindi and its environs who also stream their teachings live on a local TV network.

The evangelist has courted many controversies and is still having court cases relating to his radical teachings.

Early this year, he chased from a Malindi cemetery after he accused mourners who had gathered to bury their relative of being devil worshippers.

He later hit the headlines in the news after being arrested on similar allegations of radicalising students in his church.

The Malindi council of pastors have since disowned the pastor and called on security officers to investigate his actions.

Makenzi was the point of discussion during a security meeting at the Malindi DCC's office after over 50 pastors said he was becoming a security threat.

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