Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Kenya: Anglican Bishops Back Regulation of Churches to Tame Cultists

Nairobi — The Anglican Church of Kenya (ACK) has supported the move by government to regulate churches says State intervention would help tame religious extremists.

Speaking during a press conference by the House of Bishops on Wednesday, Archbishop Jackson Ole Sapit noted the church will support a law that will stem the proliferation of extremist or cultic practices but said the State must protect and promote religious freedoms for all our citizens.

“The Anglican Church recognizes the current statutes are inadequate to deal with religious extremists and cultic bodies that operate under the guise of religious organization,” he said flanked by bishops for dioceses from across the country.

The bishops expressed sympathy for the mass deaths in Shakahola blamed on a starvation cult led by televangelist Paul Makenzie.

“We condole the families who lost their loved ones in the Shakohola and caution the public to be alert and report any suspicious religious practices,” Sapit said in a statement endorsed by the House of Bishops.

The Anglican Church spoke days after President William Ruto instituted a 17-member taskforce to review legal and regulatory frameworks governing religious organizations in Kenya.

In a gazette notice dated May 5, President Ruto announced that Reverend Mutava Musyimi will chair the committee which will be operational for the next six months.

The taskforce was formed following the discovery of mass graves in Shakahola forest, Kilifi, in what has been dubbed the “Shakahola forest massacre”.

Self-proclaimed pastor Paul Nthenge Mackenzie is facing terrorism charges for allegedly urging followers to starve to death “to meet Jesus”.

The Mutava-led taskforce will seek to identify gaps and propose legal and governance changes to prevent religious extremism.

It will also inform standards used to grant certificates to various religious institutions in the country.


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