Home > Counties > Authority pledges to combat religious extremism, radicalization

Authority pledges to combat religious extremism, radicalization

Kenyans have been assured that a lasting solution will be found to root out religious extremism, cults, and radicalization as the government takes firm action to control a repeat of the Shakahola killings.

The killings which have shocked Kenyans have awakened the need to regulate churches, with the Presidential Taskforce on the Review of the Legal and Regulatory Framework Governing Religious Organizations collecting views in Kakamega.

The vice chair of the taskforce, Bishop Mark Kariuki, said through the taskforce, the government is committed to overseeing church activities to ensure they efficiently serve their role in the society.

During a one-day consultative meeting with various stakeholders, including religious leaders, activists, civil society organizations, and residents of Kakamega County, the taskforce received recommendations and memoranda for review.

Church leaders present pointed out loopholes in the registration of churches, citing that there is no way the government would be caught unawares when there were local administration officers on the ground closer to the people.

The church leaders also asked the government to closely monitor the registration of new churches by involving locals, who have a better understanding of church leaders, in approving the churches.

An imam from Kakamega, Abdul Rahman, proposed that civic education forums be held to educate the faithful on how to identify the truth to avoid falling victims to brainwashing and cultism.

While making his submissions, African International Church Bishop George Ngatia said that umbrella bodies ought to work under an independent body that is not influenced by the national government.

The taskforce committee instilled more confidence among the public and reassured them that they will continue to traverse other counties in order to come up with clear guidelines to curb religious extremism in the country.

At the same time, Bishop Kariuki asked authorities and other institutions to stop harassing the church due to what happened in Shakahola to enable the taskforce to receive feedback and recommendations and not complaints from participants.

“There is a lot of anger among many Kenyans because of what has happened in Shakahola. With that anger, there is a temptation to think it is the church, so harassment may be transferred back to the church,” he noted.

“We would like to urge the authorities who are harassing churches, please, do not harass churches, talk to the people concerned to find a solution, because if you harass them then you will be jeopardizing the work of this taskforce, we want contributions, we don’t want complaints,” he noted.

Bishop Nicholus Olumasai, the director of Kenya Outreach Tidings, said church leaders should not be victimized over what happened in Shakahola, as most churches are truly serving their congregation.

By Leah Mwalo and Kenton Illa

Leave a Reply