The leader of the taskforce mandated to collect views on the legal and regulatory framework governing religious organisations in Kisii County has assured that the committee was vigilant to capture all concerns in a bid to stop a repeat of the Shakahola massacre and similar incidents in future.
Speaking during a public participation event at the Kisii Institute of Highways and Building Technology, in Kisii Central Sub County, Kisii County, Arch Bishop Maurice Muhatia Makumba said religious leaders and members of the public had made it clear they wanted protection of freedom of worship but noted that further action needed to be taken to stop criminal elements that had infiltrated the religious space and tarnished its name.
“The issue that is coming up is that many want the law to protect and defend freedom of worship, but because some have gone astray, we as a community must bring our efforts together to ensure bad things don’t happen to innocent people in places of worship,” said Arch Bishop Makumba.
Makumba applauded members of different religions and denominations for turning up in large numbers to give their input during the event.
County Commissioner Tom Anjere noted areas highlighted during the presentations including inadequate laws governing the activities of religious organisations and the current Societies’ Act that only focuses on registration rather than regulation.
Anjere said there was also need for education and sensitization programmes for members of public to enable them distinguish between fake and genuine religious teachings and to enable people to make informed decisions.
The County Commissioner said the need for self-regulating body by all religious players was very clear in all deliberations.
He however noted there were no issues in Kisii adding that close collaboration and partnership with various religious groups had made it possible to address emerging issues.
Bishop Lawrence Omambia, the Kisii County Chairman of the Pastors and Clergy Forum said Shakahola incident was a limited issue which should be investigated because it was not preaching the correct tenets of the Christianity.
Bishop Omambia also said the church should be left to self-regulate for it to gain respect in the community.
He explained that the forum had devised a way of working with the national government up to the ward level by ensuring suspicious incidents were reported to authorities early for investigation.
One Gladys Kerubo Morara said adequate training was pertinent to equip those intending to open religious organizations.
She said joblessness was leading to people opening churches to cash in on them and
appealed for government’s support to prevent clergy from using crude means to get money.
By Jefferson Volka and Jane Naitore