Kenya to build a memorial in honour of Shakahola victims

During a recent gathering with security heads in Kilifi County, Cabinet Secretary (CS) for Interior and National Administration, Kithure Kindiki, unveiled plans for the construction of a memorial dedicated to the victims of the Shakahola tragedy.

Addressing attendees at the State of the County Security Appraisal Forum in Kilifi Town on March 27, CS Kindiki revealed that approximately 4,000 acres of land on Chakama Ranch will be allocated for this purpose, serving as a tribute to those who lost their lives in the Shakahola incident.

“The government will acquire sections of the Chakama Ranch, where the primary suspect perpetrated heinous crimes against the people of Kenya, to erect a memorial as a lasting reminder of the tragic events,” he stated.

In addition, Kindiki instructed the scene of crime teams involved in the investigation to conclude their assessments before officially closing the exhumation process.

Government pathologist Johansen Oduor disclosed that a total of 35 mass graves were unearthed on the expansive property, containing the remains of 429 Shakahola victims.

The Shakahola massacre, which surfaced in April of the previous year, brought to light the involvement of controversial preacher Paul Mackenzie of the Good News International Church.

CS Kindiki emphasized that local officials who had knowledge of the situation but remained silent would face accountability.

“Upon the lifting of the current injunction by the courts, a thorough investigation into the actions of public officials contributing to the Shakahola atrocities will be conducted by the Commission of Inquiry appointed by the President,” he declared.

President William Ruto established an 8-member Commission in May 2023 to probe the extensive casualties, with Court of Appeal judge Justice Jessie Lesiit appointed as the chairperson. Other members include Justice (Rtd) Mary Kasango, psychiatrist Dr. Frank Njenga, Eric Gumbo, Bishop Catherine Mutua, Dr. Jonathan Lodompui, Wanyama Musiambu, and Albert Musasia.

CS Kindiki underscored that the Shakahola massacre is indicative of broader criminal activities aimed at seizing both public and private land, thereby exacerbating security concerns in Kilifi County.

“Land fraud, illegal occupation of private and public land, the proliferation of criminal gangs, as well as the sale and consumption of illicit substances, are among the key security challenges facing Kilifi County,” he elaborated. Additionally, he highlighted the issue of inadequate transition support for children entering secondary school as another area of concern.