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Religious leaders support government regulation of worship institutions.

A section of Laikipia County religious leaders have welcomed the move by the government to regulate religious institutions.

Speaking in Nanyuki during the Presidential Taskforce on the review of the Legal and Regulation Framework Governing Religious Institutions, the leaders said that the move would tame rogue religious leaders.

The task force is mandated to collect views from members of the public on how religious institutions should be regulated, geared towards preventing religious institutions from taking advantage of their followers in the future.

Nanyuki, chairman of churches Bishop Francis Maina noted that the regulations would prevent cult-like incidents like those that happened in Shakahola, Kilifi County, attributed to controversial preacher Paul Paul Mackenzie of Good News International Ministries, who brainwashed followers to starve until death in order to meet Jesus Christ.

This comes as the number of bodies exhumed by the government since the exercise began in May has reached 360.

Bishop Maina said that they were saddened that the bizarre incident had been executed by Mackenzie using God’s word to lure his victims, which was contrary to biblical teachings.

“We are saddened by the Shakahola issue as a church; we couldn’t have imagined something bad and associated with the church could have happened in the country. It’s good the government has taken the initiative to listen to our views on how to regulate,” said Maina.

He said that there was a need to scrutinise emerging churches to avoid bad teachings that could result in disaster and called on the government to partner with them in the regulation of religious institutions.

Nanyuki-based Akorino Association Secretary Pastor Karuri said people need to be sensitised on religion, claiming a majority of them had perished due to a lack of knowledge.

“We are here to find the truth in our churches; there are a lot of bad things happening that are against our biblical teachings. Some clergy are misusing their followers to amass wealth,” he lamented.

On his part, Pastor Kinyua, who is based in Nanyuki town, said that even as the government seeks to regulate religious institutions, those involved in brainwashing people through their bad teaching should be prosecuted individually without blaming all churches.

On her part, Mary Muthoni said that regulation of churches would go a long way in protecting Kenyans from religious leaders with ulterior motives.

However, those opposed to the move said that it would curtail their freedom of worship and the operation of places of worship.

By Muturi Mwangi

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