Religious leaders in Teso North have been cautioned against re-opening places of worship before implementing the set Covid-19 protocols in full.
The caution was made during a meeting at Malaba Anglican Church that brought together Busia County Interfaith Committee officials, religious leaders from the area and the Sub County Covid-19 Response Committee.
The Teso North Assistant County Commissioner 1, Florence Omieno told the religious leaders that it is mandatory for each house of worship to observe the phased re-opening guidelines developed by the Interfaith Council.
She said the government has shifted the responsibility of protecting worshippers against Covid-19 pandemic to the religious leaders hence they should cooperate with the public health officers to ensure the protocols have been met before re-opening.
She urged religious leaders and their followers to observe what the government spelt out to guard themselves against the pandemic.
“All churches and mosques should put in place Covid-19 response committees. These committees will then be at the forefront of ensuring that the re-opening guidelines are implemented,”Omieno said.
The area Police Commander, Wilson Muraya said all religious leaders must ensure they execute the stipulated regulations to avoid antagonizing the law and guard their flock against Corona virus pandemic.
“As religious leaders you must understand that by observing the protocols you are safeguarding the lives of your followers. Let us not take chances. If you and your congregants are not ready please don’t re-open your church or mosque,” Muraya advised, noting that a mistake by one church will lead to a closure of all places of worship again.
The Sub County Public Health Officer, James Simiyu said no place of worship will be allowed to operate without adherence to the set guidelines, “You should not rush to open your churches and mosques. You can only do so after the public health officers have visited it and ascertained the preventive measures have been implemented,”Simiyu said, noting that the first step should be establishment of Covid-19 response committees.
Apostle John Muiruri who is the Chairman of Busia County Interfaith Committee hailed the government for allowing places of worship to re-open saying it is now upon religious leaders to observe strictly the set guidelines or risk another ban.
He urged fellow religious leaders to work harder bearing in mind the large number of positive cases Busia County has registered.
“We must sensitize our people about the pandemic so as to ensure they are safe,” He stated, adding that with the re-opening of churches the number of teenage pregnancies, domestic violence among other societal ills will fall.
Places of worship were allowed to re-open from 14th July but only for those that will have complied with the Health protocols developed by the Interfaith Council that was appointed by President Uhuru Kenyatta.
By Melechezedeck Ejakait