While many Kenyans remained indoors on the evening of August 24, 2019 anxiously waiting to be enumerated and some politicians having reminded people to travel upcountry to be enumerated in their home counties for political expediency, it comes as a surprise that some individuals, for supposedly reasons of faith, could struggle to stay away from the exercise to the level of opting to be jailed.
The census exercise exposed the extent to which our freedom of worship has allowed some cult leaders to mislead their flock.
The recent news headline that forty six members of Kavonokia Sect in Tharaka Nithi County were jailed for their adamant defiance to enumeration ignites the urge to know what these followers have against the census and from which religious books.
Those who were sent to jail by a Marimanti Court, maintained that their religious doctrines do not allow them to participate in “earthly” activities. The sect followers from Karocho, Thiiti and Kathangacini locations in Tharaka Constituency did not mince their words in front of Senior Resident Magistrate, Stephen Nyaga even when it was clear that they were heading to jail.
Four of the believers were released after they pleaded guilty and agreed to be enumerated, but the others maintained that the exercise was satanic and they would better go to jail rather than participate in such worldly activities.
While leading in their arrests last week, the Tharaka North Deputy County Commissioner (DCC), Patrick Chege confirmed that the suspect were faithful of a church based at Gatiithine market and refused to participate in the census exercise in any way.
The Sub-county boss said there are a lot of complaints from members of the community over the sect because it prevents members from meeting other government obligations like national identification cards and taking their children to school or going to hospital when they get sick and vaccination for children among others.
“According to a former member of the sect, Kavonokia believers do not participate in activities such as census and election arguing that they are sinful and are only meant for sinners.
Jame s Mutegi, a resident of Marimanti in Tharaka Constituency the doctrines of the sect do not allow them to go to school, use mobile phones, seek medical attention or even take their babies for immunization.
“They believe that education is an earthly activity and that sick people should pray to God for healing. Seeking doctor’s services is putting one’s trust in a human being instead of God,” the former believer disclosed.
While being enumerated at his home, the County Governor, Muthomi Njuki was quick to commend the County Census Committee for the teamwork that enabled the smooth exercise in the disputed area along the Tharaka- Meru boundary.
The two County Census Committees resolved to work as a team to register people living along their disputed border and made the census exercise a success.
By David Mutwiri