12 January 2016

Kenya: Church Rules - Uhuru Directs Attorney General to Address Concerns

Photo: Chernor Bah
Attorney-General Githu Muigai proposed rules to streamline religious institutions and curb televangelists who offer "miracles" in exchange for money (file photo).

Nairobi — President Uhuru Kenyatta on Tuesday directed Attorney General Githu Muigai to review proposals in the Religious Societies Rules 2015 after thorough and exhaustive consultations with all stakeholders.

He asked the AG to ensure that the current draft regulations are subjected to vigorous public consultations so that they don't undermine the fundamental values and principles enshrined in the constitution.

"The President has directed the Attorney General, Professor Githu Muigai, to ensure that all proposals relating to the creation of a framework for religious societies and organisations is undertaken after thorough and exhaustive consultations with all groups, bearing in mind the sacrosanct constitutional principles governing the freedom of religion and worship," reads a statement from State House spokesman Manoah Esipisu.

The directive comes after major public outcry on the proposed regulations that have been termed as unreasonable and untenable by religious leaders.

On Tuesday, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops accused the government of plotting to micro-manage the activities of the Church through the proposed regulations under the new society's rules.

Addressing a press briefing, the conference chairman Rt. Rev Philip Anyolo specifically said they were against the requirement for different faiths to keep updated register where they say the work of winning souls for Christ is an ongoing task.

"Further to that, the new rules give the registrar sweeping powers, including the power to invade churches to conduct impromptu audit," he said.

"This is, to say the least, a license for the government to violate constitutionally guaranteed freedom of worship."

The bishops had called on the government to consult widely before implementing the said regulations so that they can serve the intended purpose of weeding out rogue preachers.

Anyolo says if indeed the government was genuine in formulating these rules, it should have widely consulted with all religious leaders in the country.

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