That Kenya is a secular state is a matter enshrined in our constitution. By this, it means that any Kenyan has a right to worship or belong to any religious organisation without state control or interference in that choice, as long as that belief does not infringe on the right of others to exercise the same.
Before I get to the gist of this article, I will mention two controversial issues that have been cropping up in this country like a sore thumb.
Sometime back, reports were rife that devil worship was rampant in our colleges and schools, a matter that the government found hard to intervene in, given the subtle nature of the matter. To date, Kenya is awash with allegations that some leaders practice devil worship but so far no one has been charged in court due to "lack of evidence".
The same problem arises when it comes to dealing with matters pertaining to witchcraft where obtaining the burden of proof that someone has practised witchcraft becomes an uphill task in our courts of law.
This has led some aggrieved people in some parts of the country to take the law in their own hands where lynch mobs are set on suspects.
Coming to the heart of the matter, mixed reactions have greeted the government move through AG Githu Muigai to come up with a raft of measures to regulate the activities of churches.
One might ask the question, if Kenya is a secular state, why does the government seek to regulate churches which belong to Christians and not mosques which belong to Muslims. The answer is almost forthright: That when it comes larceny, outright malfeasance and impunity in worship and religion, our churches take the cake.
Preachers, self-styles apostles and bishops are sprouting up at every corner of this country and declaring power to performing miracles and asking for instant rewards to perform the same. prophets of profit
Some of these phony self-styled "prophets of profit" are so impatient for lucre that they want instant payment through money transfer systems such as M-Pesa. Instant gratification may not be a vice on its own but one wonders why these church leaders are too impatient yet one of the moral attributes of God is patience and forbearance.
Secondly, gullible followers flock to churches for succor and a turn of things for the better, only for some phony church leaders to fish in troubled waters and lining their pockets.
As such it should not be a tall order for the government to regulate how some church leaders earn their titles, some of which are questionable and even comic at times, like yours truly starting a
church tomorrow and the following day I declare myself a prophet of God and performing miracles whose tangible results are non-existent!
On a positive note, it should be appreciated that churches, since the missionary days, have played a crucial role in spreading formal education and other key services such as health. I fact, in those days of yore, schools and health centers used to exist together with churches for the full wellbeing of the people.
Even now, the role of churches in socio-economic well-being of the country cannot be gainsaid. For instance, churches in our country employ thousands of people who are earning a living in different
professions. That is laudable.
So what the new laws should seek to achieve is putting in place mechanisms to identify the con men, thieves, witches and harlots hiding under the veil of worship and leading the flock astray.
However, any law seeking to gag and muzzle the churches and other religious organisations should be resisted and permanently abandoned.