Government under pressure to regulate the church
The Kenyan government is under pressure from Kenyans and political leaders to regulate the church.
This comes after a cult leader identified as Mr Paul Mackenzi was arrested after it emerged that he had caused the deaths of dozens of followers of his church by telling them that if they starved to death they would go straight to heaven.
Mr Mackenzi ran a church called Good News International in Kilifi County.
Kakamega Senator Bonny Khalwale has now said that freedom of worship in the country needs to be examined and scrutinised.
“Freedom of worship will have to be examined and scrutinised if allowing anyone who comes in the name of God to open a church means this senseless loss of lives of unsuspecting members of the public,” said Mr Khalwale.
Ms Pauline Njoroge, a digital and strategic communications expert, said the government should not be intimidated by the church.
“The government should refuse to be intimidated by some “pastors” who use religion for all sorts of treachery and will always quote Psalm 105:15 whenever they are questioned. Most importantly, the current regime should not be in bed with such characters,” said Ms Njoroge.
She also claimed that the Rwandan government had already passed a law requiring only those with theological training to have churches.
A year ago, the National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK) came under pressure to ensure it regulated the church.
This was after Mrs Ida Odinga, wife of Kenya’s long-time opposition leader Raila Odinga, asked the NCCK to regulate the church to protect Christians from criminals.
The Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) is currently exhuming bodies from mass graves as detectives work to uncover evidence against Pastor Paul Mackenzie Nthenge.
He is believed to have convinced his followers that dying of starvation would ensure their passage to heaven.
The controversial church was reportedly founded by Mackenzie in 2003 and he urged his followers to starve themselves while he enjoyed lavish meals.