Church leaders have asked worshippers to vote out the Jubilee government in 2017 if new rules regulating religion are not amended.
Evangelical Alliance of Kenya (EAK) chairman Bishop Mark Kariuki lamented that there has been a systematic ploy to muzzle the church since 2014.
“Registration of churches was stopped since 2014. We believe this is meant to stop evangelism and growth of the church since other societies are being registered freely,” he said.
EAK is now planning to collect three million signatures to stop the Attorney General from tabling the regulations.
So far, the Registrar of Societies has stopped more than 7,000 new church registrations.
Bishop Kariuki said fighting church leaders is akin to fighting the very members of the church who happen to be the majority voters in the country.
“Preachers are worshippers before they are preachers and all the worshippers have voters’ cards. 2017 is very close and we will not hesitate to use those cards,” he said amidst loud applause from other Evangelical and Pentecostal church leaders.
The AG recently published rules requiring clerics to undergo theological training to be certified as preachers.
Religious Societies Rules also require religious institutions to submit their statements of faith so that their doctrines may be examined.
Bishop Kariuki argued that not all ministers of the gospel are learned. He said some receive a calling from God and to demand theological degree from them is “mischievous.”
“We appeal to the President to require the State organs to use the existing machinery to weed out fake pastors. In light of his recent address to the church, the Deputy President gave an assurance and we will take him on his word,” Bishop Kariuki added.
Deputy President William Ruto assured the clergy that “necessary adjustments” will be made to televangelism laws Communications Authority has gazetted. The laws forbid “seed” preaching whereby preachers tell viewers to send money for miracles.
“We will be guided by what the Bible teaches to make adjustments so that we do not hinder true prophets and men of God from doing what God has called them to do,” said Ruto on Sunday.
Bishop Kariuki said worshippers have the freedom to worship in whatever way they deem fit, including sending money via mobile phone transactions.
“If giving my offering is part of how I worship, then you cannot dictate how I worship,” he said, before calling the audience at CITAM Valley Road to give their offerings. Other leaders present include Bishop Margaret Wanjiru of the Jesus is Alive Ministries who gave out an MPESA Paybill number through which people could send money to support the campaign against the laws.
And in Nyeri, EAK branch chairman Bishop Paul Wanjohi said they will use the signatures to lodge a petition against the rules. “We hope to have collected the signatures by the end of this week then move to court to stop the AG from gazetting and implementing the rules,” Bishop Wanjohi said.
This came as atheists supported proposed laws. Atheists in Kenya (AIK) boss Harrison Mumia said the government has the responsibility of protecting Kenyans against the preachers. Mr Mumia accused the healers of taking advantage of desperate Kenyans by giving them false promises in the name of miracles, in turn making them spend their money on offering instead of seeking medical care. “These people are enriching themselves as poor and desperate Kenyans continue to wade in pools of lies,” Mr Mumia said
Reported by Ngare Kariuki, Nicholas Komu, Faith Nyamai and George Munene