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Hold your horses, we are not yet ready for reopening of the places of worship

By Ogolla Warinda | June 12th 2020

As the novel coronavirus continues to wreak havoc on world economies, it appears we have reached a stage in which the Kenyan populace has shelved the fears hitherto associated with the killer virus.

Somehow, we are slowly sliding to ‘normal life’.  The merciless manner by which Covid-19 ravaged Italians had earlier sent cold down the spine of the world and Kenya was not left behind. The raft of measures put by the Government were at least embraced by many Kenyans. However, as the number of the victims of the virus continue to soar, it is ironical that many Kenyans are feigning normalcy and want to develop a policy of see-no-evil and hear-no-evil.

The most unfortunate evidence of this carelessness amidst adversity was manifested by the call by my comrade and colleague, Auscar Wambiya, published on the Sunday Standard of June 7, 2020. According to Wambiya, the Government should open church gatherings on his lame premise that the church would disseminate protective measures like keeping social distance, wearing of masks, washing hands and sanitising of hands. While this is a populist move by Wambiya, seemingly meant to endear himself to the clergy most of whom are starving of tithes, it is a very premature call to make at this time.

Let Wambiya and his ilk be reminded that the church is not a department of the Ministry of Health to be used for disseminating health information. The Government has heavily invested in the broadcasting of the information on how to avoid the virus and no one can claim to be still ignorant of what needs to be done for personal safety. The main problem hampering the mitigation of the virus now is the obstinate nature of some Kenyans hell bent on rebelling against any directive given by the government.

Secondly, let Wambiya expand his knowledge on different brands of religious persuasions for him to understand that his call dangles the country on the precipice of doom. There are denominations that reportedly get possessed by the Holy Spirit and become hypnotised in the process of worship. During that time, the worshipers fall down and no one would be bothered about safety measures while in that condition. Thirdly, neither Wambiya nor the Government has mechanisms by which church activities will be controlled to ensure uniformity in worship to guarantee the safety of the laity.

Wambiya needs to be reminded that church activities are mostly hinged on faith and not reason. Once churches are opened, many a congregation will believe that they have conquered the virus and will ignore all safety measures by the government. Consequently, with the stable over 100 people getting infected with the virus on a daily basis, I find it irresponsible of any right thinking Kenyan to call on the government to open worship gatherings. Hold on your horses Wambiya, we are not yet out of the woods. 


Warinda, is a PhD student and part-time lecturer at Jaramogi Oginga Odinga University

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