We will not allow thieves to use religion to steal – President Kenyatta
President Uhuru Kenyatta has expressed the government’s resolve in rooting out fake preachers in the country.
The Head of State said the new regulations announced last week are aimed at safeguarding the freedom of worship while at the same time ensuring sanctity in religion.
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He emphasised that unscrupulous preachers will not be given room to continue swindling Kenyans of their hard-earned money in the name of spreading the gospel.
“Our Constitution accords every Kenyan the right to worship and I fully support that position. But we will not allow thieves to use religion to steal from Kenyans,” President Kenyatta said.
President Kenyatta added that his decision to direct Attorney General Githu Muigai to ensure that the draft Religious Societies Rules 2015 are subjected to further vigorous public consultations was aimed at making sure the regulations do not undermine the fundamental values principles enshrined in the Constitution.
The President spoke when he joined Anglican Church of Kenya (ACK) faithful in Malindi for a Sunday service.
“We must work together to root out people who use the Church to enrich themselves. These are thieves and must be treated with the contempt they deserve,” President Kenyatta said.
The President commended the Anglican Church in Kenya for complementing the government’s effort in development in addition to their core work of spreading the gospel.
He further called on all Kenyans to play their role to ensure that the country is safe, adding that there is need to pray for Kenyan soldiers.
“Let’s work with the security agents to expose those with evil intentions so that they can be dealt with before they harm us and threaten tourists,” he said.
“Let us pray for those who lost their lives in Somalia and their families, and I wish quick recovery to those who were injured.”
Among the contentious clauses that are causing ripples among religious leaders are those barring religious leaders from using religion to ask for financial help or influence others to change their belief.
“Religious personnel should not misuse religion to exploit audiences by asking them to support them financially or abuse of a person’s belief in order to convince that person to change her/his belief and subscribe to the beliefs of the person challenging her/him,” states one of the provisions in the guidelines.
The regulations also state that Kenya is a multi-religious nation whose laws guarantee, safeguard and protect the freedom of worship and association.
According to the guidelines, released by the Communications Authority of Kenya, “all religious programmes shall be geared towards emphasising the positive role of religion in the society.”
Religious programmes are also prohibited from spreading false charges against persons or organisations with different belief while individual religious groups are cushioned against being treated inappropriately.
Orange Democratic Party (ODM) has condemned the perceived attempts by the government to regulate religious organisations in the country with its Secretary General Ababu Namwamba terming the move unconstitutional and one that should be resisted.