Ex-NCCK Sec Gen Mutava Musyimi to lead task force reviewing laws governing churches

Rev. Mutava Musyimi to lead task force reviewing laws governing religious organisations. [File, Standard]

Former National Council of Churches of Kenya Secretary-General Rev. Mutava Musyimi has been appointed to head a presidential task force to review laws governing churches in Kenya.

Musyimi will chair the task force, whose members include Bishop Mark Kariuki, Archbishop Maurice Muhatia, lawyer Charles Kanjama, Bishop Philip Kitoto, Judy Thongori, and Mary Kitegi.

Others in the 14-member task force include Dr. Alphonse Kanga, Prof Musili Wambua, Joseph Wabwire, Leah Kasera, Nancy Murega, Faridun Abdalla, and Wilson Wanyanga.

“I, William Samoei Ruto, President and Commander-in-Chief of the Kenya Defence Forces, do appoint a presidential taskforce on the review of the legal and regulatory framework governing religious organizations in Kenya,” read a gazette notice dated May 4.

Goretti Nyariki and Martin Ndiwa will act as joint secretaries of the task force.

The appointments come on the back of a debate on whether it is time to regulate churches, following the Shakahola massacre where faithful did after controversial preacher Paul Makenzi asked them to starve to death in order to “meet Jesus”.

The team has been tasked with identifying legal, governance, and institutional gaps that have allowed religious extremist organizations and cults to exist, and engage in harmful practices.

The Musyimi-led task force will then formulate proposals on best practices revolving around certification requirements for all religious organizations and their leaders that will allow them to be registered and operate in the country.

It will also recommend appropriate action to be taken against individuals and groups “suspected of founding, leading, or part of religious extremist organizations, sects, cults, and other similar outfits.”