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Clergy decry police harassment

The  Clergy  in  Narok  town  on Wednesday  decried alleged harassment by police officers despite complying with the laid down regulations to combat Covid – 19.

Led by Bishop Jackson Solonka of Free Pentecost Church of Kenya, the spiritual leaders claimed that on Sundays, the local police always unlawfully intimidate and harasses some of them while they are engaged in live streaming of sermons at pulpits of their empty churches
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“This is so ungodly and unlawful. We cannot accept this as we have done all we are supposed to do as required by the Ministry of Health,” said Bishop Solonka.

The over ten pastors are now calling on the government to intervene and protect them from inconveniences when streaming online.

The clergy wondered why they were being harassed despite the Interior Ministry directing Inspector General of Police, Hillary Mutyambai to facilitate the live streaming of churches.

“Police manning churches here in Narok continue to depict our places of worship as crime scenes whilst oblivious of the government directives. As pastors we are law-abiding and men of integrity as well as servants of God,” they said.

Bishop Solonka said they have asked their congregants to watch the services streamed live but has not been successful as the police always interrupt them when they attempt to preach.

During the Saturday national update, President Uhuru Kenyatta lauded the clergy for preaching online and avoiding crowds asking them to continue with the same spirit.

The Church leaders also called on the government to consider coming up with a taskforce on re-opening of the churches such like one created by the Education Ministry under Cabinet  Secretary, George Magoha on reopening of schools.

“The  World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that COVID-19 pandemic might be with us for some time and as a church we are worried. We are however concerned that no such structures have been put in place towards re-opening of churches,” the clergy decried.

The pastors spoke during a press briefing held in a local hotel.

Elsewhere, a cross section of clerics in Western region are appealing to the government to rescind its decision to suspend church gatherings to stop the spread of Covid 19.

Addressing the press on Thursday, the clerics led by Apostle Tom Omutsa of Christ Divine Vision Ministry, termed the Covid19 pandemic as ‘the wrath of God against wickedness’ and called on the government to uphold the freedom of worship.

He  argued that the world and especially the church should change their ways by stopping jealousy, prostitution, witch-hunt and all forms of corruption so that God can forgive and end the pandemic.

In March this year, Kenya’s President, Uhuru Kenyatta, suspended religious gatherings and worship services across the country indefinitely to prevent the further spread of COVID-19 disease after the first case was reported.

The leaders want the churches re-opened to intercede for Kenya even as medical doctors do their part.

The church heads say the government should order the re-opening but issue strict guidelines to them, as it had done to other sectors.

“Church has a very critical role to pray for God to end the coronavirus pandemic that has shaken the world,” he observed.

When  announcing the suspension of church gatherings, amid protests, Health Cabinet Secretary, Mutahi Kagwe said some pastors were after tithes and offerings and that was why they did not want worship places shut down.

Kagwe then asked Kenyans to listen and watch spiritual nourishment programmes on radios and television sets.

The coronavirus has infected at least 1029 people to date in the country since it appeared in China last November. The virus has brought the world to a standstill, forcing millions of people to isolate while the death toll steadily climbs.

At  least 5 million people globally have been infected with COVID-19. The global death toll from the virus stands at over 328,000 with Kenya having lost 50 of its citizens to the virus.

Pastor Jesse Mulati of All Nations Fellowship church said the church has failed to show leadership and should amend its ways, repent, fast and pray and warned that the pandemic was far from over.

Meanwhile, the Nzoia Water Services Company has donated water tanks and handwashing detergent to Bungoma and Trans Nzioa Counties to help stop the spread of the virus.

The firm Managing Director, Mathews Maruti says 30 tanks and hand washing detergents were distributed to aid in the efforts towards flattening the Covid19 curve.

He urged the residents to adhere to preventive measures issued by the World Health Organisation and avoid public gatherings as well as wash their hands regularly with soap under running water

By  KNA TEAM

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