Atheists in Kenya demand body’s registration
By NICHOLAS KOMU
Atheists in Kenya have threatened to move to court to challenge the government’s decision not to register their association on grounds that so doing will disrupt peace and order in the country.
Principal State counsel of Societies, Maria Kanyiri, on Wednesday said registering Atheists in Kenya lobby poses a threat to peace and good order in the country.
“The registrar has cause to believe that the interests of peace, welfare or good order in Kenya would be likely suffer prejudice by reason of your registration as a society,” Ms Kanyiri said in letter addressed to the group.
But reacting to the denial of registration of their association, the group has claimed that the registrar acted from a religious ground.
“We feel that the registrar is basing her reason from her own beliefs which is discriminatory and unconstitutional,” said Mr Harrison Mumia, the group’s president.
Mr Mumia further accused the registrar of denying them their fundamental rights by preempting what would happen if they were registered.
MOVE TO COURT
He said the move had defied Articles 27(4) and 36(1) of the Kenyan constitution which protect rights of its citizens.
Article 27 (4) states that the State shall not discriminate directly or indirectly against any person on any ground, including race, sex, pregnancy, marital status, health status, ethnic or social origin, colour, age, disability, religion, conscience, belief, culture, dress, language or birth.
Article 36 (1) on the other hand provides the right of association stating that every person has the right to freedom of association, which includes the right to form, join or participate in the activities of an association of any kind.
The group has been given 30 days to appeal but they have declined the offer, saying that they will instead move to court.
“We are persuaded that the registrar is bent on denying us the right to register as a society. We are therefore moving to court to compel the office of the registrar to register Atheists in Kenya Society,” Mr Mumia said in a press statement that was copied to the registrar of societies.