Kenya moves to regulate indiscriminate religious preaching
EVANGELICAL churches in Kenya have condemned what they described as government plans to make it tougher for religious bodies and clerics from all faiths to operate.
BBC reported that the Evangelical Alliance of Kenya said the move move was aimed at stopping the growth of evangelical churches in the country.
But a leading Anglican cleric welcomed the proposals as an attempt to end the “commercialisation” of religion.
The proposals required all religious bodies to register, and for preachers to have police clearance.
All religious institutions would also be required to submit their statements of faith to a government-backed body for examination.
Christians form the majority in Kenya, while Muslims are the second-largest group.
Their main body, the Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims has also opposed the proposals, warning they could violate “freedom of worship and amount to a clampdown on religious institutions.”
The Catholic Church, the largest Christian denomination in Kenya, and to which President Uhuru Kenyatta belongs, has not yet commented on the proposals.
The BBC’s Muliro Telewa in the capital, Nairobi, says Attorney-General Githu Muigai unveiled the proposals last week, and would hold public consultations before drafting legislation.
Other proposals include:
According to the new regulation all preachers have to undergo theological training at a reputable seminary.
The Ethics and Anti-Corruption commission will have to certify that clergy are not corrupt and foreign pastors will
need a work permit, and a recommendation from their government.
Observers are of the opinion that the proposals seem to target self-proclaimed Christian prophets and faith healers whose influence is growing, as well as Muslim preachers who promote extremism in a country where militant Islamist group al-Shabab is active.
The Evangelical Alliance of Kenya (EAK) has said it would launch a campaign to obtain three million signatures to block the government from enforcing the proposals.