Truth Behind Photo of A Man Fasting, Demanding Release of Pastor Mackenzie

Written by on May 9, 2023

A photo of a young emaciated man sitting on the floor and vowing to fast until controversial Pastor Paul Mackenzie is released is false.

The photo was shared on Facebook by Allan Mburu accompanied by a swahili caption “Sikuli na sikunywi adi Maji,mpaka pst Mackenzie aachiliwe. Pst Mackenzie diehard supporter,claims!” which loosely translates to “I am not eating nor drinking even water until Pastor Mackenzie is released.”

Mackenzie has been on the spot after he was arrested over encouraging his followers to fast to death so that they can meet Jesus Christ. As of May 8, 2023, 112 bodies had been exhumed from mass graves in Shakahola forest, Kilifi County.

Mackenzie is now facing charges under the Terrorism Act for radicalization.

But is the young man in the photo a follower of Pastor Mackenzie?

A Google reverse image search on the photo established that the photo was first published on Nigerian websites in September 2019.

The man in the photo is identified as Ikechukwe Oke and reportedly fasted for 41 days to seek for God’s intervention because of family hardships. Oke was taken to hospital in the southeastern Nigerian state of Ebonyi. 

This fact-check was produced by Sky 106.1 FM with support from Code for Africa’s PesaCheck, International Fact-Checking Network, and African Fact Checking Alliance network.

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