22 March 2019

Kenya: MP Tables Motion to Regulate Rogue Churches, Demands Draft Bill From AG

The process of regulating the formation and registration of churches and other religious institutions in the country has finally begun after Kigumo MP Muturi Kigano filed a motion in the National Assembly on Thursday compelling Attorney-General Kihara Kariuki to present a bill in the House within 90 days.

Mr Muturi's motion will be considered by the Justice and Legal Affairs Committee, which will then table a report in the House on the measures aimed at dealing with rogue pastors and churches in the country.

The crux of the motion is to amend the Societies Act to empower the Registrar of Societies to bring sanity to the sector.

"The purpose of this proposal is to curtail theft from the public by certain individuals calling themselves 'men of God'. We must regulate the industry because it has become a den of corruption, extortion and other social evils," Mr Kigano said.

He said if the Attorney-General does not come up with the bill as contemplated in his motion, he will be forced to draft a private members' bill, noting that the current law is weak and, therefore, cannot address the problems that "we see".

The proposed regulation, he said, targets the charismatic or modern-day churches, and not the traditional such as the Catholic, African Inland, and Anglican churches.

"It is not in doubt that the modern-day churches are deeply involved in commercial activities, as evidenced by their mode of dressing, media advertising so as to attract congregants, who are then coerced to make prescribed offertories and participate in endless harambees, whose proceeds end up in the owners' pockets," he said.

Mr Kigano added that the churches had nothing to show for their existence, unlike the traditional ones that have built schools, hospitals, and charitable institutions.

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