IN SHORT: In April 2023 Kenya was gripped by horrifying developments in the coastal county of Kilifi, where dozens of bodies have been exhumed, apparently members of a Christian death cult. But a photo claiming to show the church leader allegedly responsible for these crimes at the presidency months before has been doctored.
The horrific story of dozens of church members starving to death in Kenya, still unfolding at time of publication, has shocked the country.
As of 26 April 2023, ninety bodies had been exhumed from shallow graves in the Shakahola forest in coastal Kilifi County, and the number was expected to rise.
According to media reports, members of the Good News International Church believed that by starving themselves, they would “meet Jesus” in heaven.
Paul Mackenzie, pastor of the church, has been in police custody since 15 April and has refused to eat anything.
Following the horrific news out of Shakahola in April 2023, Ruto has said that those who pose as religious, while behaving in ways that go against religious teachings and beliefs, will be prosecuted.
So it would be embarrassing for Ruto if Mackenzie was previously at the president's official residence.
The text at the top of the circulating image reads: “MACKENZIE AT STATE HOUSE’S PURIFICATION SERVICE??”
But does it really show Mackenzie at State House? We checked.
A Google reverse image search shows that the photo was taken on 25 September 2022.
Photos of the event show evangelical leaders at the thanksgiving service at State House. But the man said to be Mackenzie in the version circulating on social media is clearly different.
The image was doctored and there is no evidence the suspected cult leader attended an event hosted by Ruto.
Republish our content for free
For publishers: what to do if your post is rated false
A fact-checker has rated your Facebook or Instagram post as “false”, “altered”, “partly false” or “missing context”. This could have serious consequences. What do you do?
Click on our guide for the steps you should follow.Publishers guide
Africa Check teams up with Facebook
Africa Check is a partner in Meta's third-party fact-checking programme to help stop the spread of false information on social media.
The content we rate as “false” will be downgraded on Facebook and Instagram. This means fewer people will see it.
You can also help identify false information on Facebook. This guide explains how.