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State to crack down on unregistered churches

Monday, June 10th, 2024 06:57 | By
Danson Mwangangi, the Assistant County Commissioner Githurai.
Danson Mwangangi, the Assistant County Commissioner Githurai. PHOTO/Mathew Ndung'u

The government has warned that a crackdown targeted at weeding out rogue and unregistered churches in Githurai Sub-county will begin next month.

Guthurai assistant county commissioner Danson Mwangangi told journalists the crackdown will go on despite resistance from a section of religious leaders.

Mwangangi revealed that a number of churches in the densely populated, urban, mixed-use settlements located at the border of Nairobi and Kiambu counties are not registered.

The unregistered churches, he said, could be harbouring cult leaders, advocates of religious extremism, fake prophets and other unscrupulous religious leaders.

Consequently, the commissioner ordered all churches in the sub-county to either comply with the law or face it.

“We need to clean up because most churches here are yet to follow the law as stipulated in the societies Act. We are willing to partner with them so long as they comply with the directives of the registrar. We will be back to crackdown the unregistered churches because a number of them are not even churches,” said Mwangangi.

Local administration

Speaking during a sensitization meeting between religious leaders, registrar of societies and the local administration, Mwangangi said religious organizations have a responsibility to support the government in its effort to get rid of rogue preachers using scriptures to radicalize and indoctrinate their followers.

Maria Goretti Nyariki, the Registrar of Societies who was present at the meeting stated that all churches must comply with the law or be shut.

Nyariki said that non-compliant churches within Githurai have been given weeks to put their houses in order before the crackdown begins.

Sensitisation

The registrar of societies is conducting sensitization forums across the country in a new bid to facilitate compliance.

“We had a sensitization meeting with religious leaders and we took them through the law and agreed that they are going to comply. For those whose timelines have lapsed, we have given them time within which to comply,” said Nyariki.

Elijah Sankisa, a reverend in Githurai who heads the sub-county’s pastors forum noted that churches in the area were ready to heed to government directives as they endeavour to continue upholding morality and good doctrines of the gospel.

This comes months after churches moved to self-regulate as the government undertakes a crackdown against rogue preachers and institutions in the country following the Shakahola massacre that has so far claimed 440 lives.

Among other things in the self-regulation guidelines, churches are required to uphold integrity and ethical conduct which should be central to Biblical teaching and practice.

They are also required to promote and enhance the wellbeing of the brethren and of society as a whole in accordance with Christian beliefs and convictions, and refrain from any conduct that undermines the constructive role that churches play in the society.

The churches are further expected to respect, protect and preserve life and shall refrain from any conduct that devalues, dehumanizes or destroys life, endeavour to uphold the sanctity of life and individually and collectively respect and uphold the dignity of every person.

The religious institutions are also mandated to value children, born and unborn, act in their best interest when under their care by protecting them and respect the right of every person to join any faith or religion of other choice without bullying, harassment, intimidation or victimization.

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