A court in Marimanti, Tharaka-Nithi County, has jailed 46 members of Kabonokia religious sect from Tharaka Constituency for between six months and one year for declining to be counted during the recently concluded national population census.
The sect members had termed the enumeration as satanic.
A total of 50 Kabonokia followers from Karocho, Thiiti and Kathangacini locations were Wednesday arraigned in Marimanti, accused of declining to give information to census officials for enlisting, lack of national identity cards and others declining to have their finger prints taken during interrogation by police.
The court released four of the believers after pleading guilty and accepting to be enlisted while the other 46 maintained that their religious doctrines do not allow them to participate in “earthly” activities.
Senior Resident Magistrate Stephen Nyaga jailed two of them from Karocho Location in Tharaka South Sub-County for one year with an alternative of paying a Sh200,000 fine.
“Failure to pay Sh200,000 fine, you will serve one year in prison, six months for declining to be counted and the other six for lack of national identity cards,” said Mr Nyaga.
Twenty five women and 17 men from Thiiti and Kathangacini locations in Tharaka North Sub-County were sentenced to six months in prison or a fine of Sh100,000 for declining to be enumerated.
The last two were imprisoned for eight months for failing to be counted and declining to have their finger prints taken by the police.
Kabonokia believers do not participate in activities such as census and election arguing, saying that they are sinful and are only meant for sinners.
Their doctrines do not also allow them to seek medical attention when they fall sick or even have their new-born babies immunised.
They do not also go to school or even use mobile phones.
They believe that education is an earthly activity and that sick people should pray to God for healing.
“According to Kabonokia believers, seeking doctor’s services is putting one’s trust in a human being instead of God,” Mr James Mutegi, a former Kabonokia believer told the Nation.