Nairobi News


Shakahola cult deaths: Reuben Kigame calls for tougher regulations of churches

Kenyan gospel artiste Reuben Kigame has added his voice to the growing condemnation of the mass deaths of followers of controversial pastor Paul Mackenzie of Good News International Church in Shakahola village in Kilifi.

In a statement, Kigame said it is high time the government enforces strict regulations on religious practices in the country.

Kigame has also faulted those in authority for allowing preachers to continue operating in the country without proper regulation.

“By the time religious broadcasters are showing vomit, blood and violent handling of congregants on the screen or the abuse of women by pastors touching them inappropriately in the name of prayer and deliverance (and that on the screen for public broadcast), someone is sleeping on his/her job,” Kigame said.

Also read: Cult leader Paul Mackenzie dropped out of school didn’t study theology, family says

“It is time for the Church in Kenya to put its foot down and save lives and loss of property by innocent Kenyans. It is time to be ruthless with fraud in the name of God, Christ, Church, Ministry, Christian organization,” he said.

Kigame’s statement comes with death toll from Shakahola village have risen to 90. The deaths are believed to have been instigated by Mr Mackenzie.

The popular singer said there is a need to review Article 8 of the 2010 Constitution to ensure that the freedom of religion should not take away the rights of people.

He said that during the draft of the current constitution, he presented his recommendations, requesting that two clauses be included in that article to state that religious freedom does not extend to the use of religion to maim, kill someone or fraudulently acquire property.

Kigame has recommended for establishment of an institution that should be tasked with vetting all registered church bodies that wish to operate as a church, ministry or organization.

Also read: Cult involvement: How to recognize warning signs and protecting loved ones

“The body should also conduct regular monitoring of what is taught in churches, on radio and television, in market centres, town halls and public transport.”

He proposes that such a body should be able to register and have powers to deregister any group or church that fails to follow the law.

Kigame is also of the opinion that the Communications Authority, the Kenya Films Classification Board, the Kenya Union of Journalists, the Media Council of Kenya, and the Media Owners Association should come together and agree on the qualifications a media house must meet to be registered or deregistered.

He said that a lot of religious broadcasts are not being monitored.

“By the time Paul Mackenzie is teaching that Kenyans should not go to the hospital, or quit school, or reject the Huduma Number, this should have been picked up as tell-tell signs of danger.”

Also read: Video emerges of doomsday cult leader Paul Mackenzi ‘disowning’ his church