• The Mombasa Pastors Fellowship leadership said the cases are bound to increase.
• Pastors said the churches should be considered as essential services providers.
The closure of churches has caused a rise in gender violence, teenage pregnancies, suicides among other ills, Mombasa pastors have said.
The churches and other places of worship have not operated for the past four months because of coronavirus restrictions.
While urging President Uhuru Kenyatta to reopen churches, the Mombasa pastors said lack of spiritual nourishment has driven people to the brinks of despair.
The Mombasa Pastors Fellowship (MPF) leadership said the cases are bound to increase if the President will not lift the ban on social gatherings.
“Gender violence cases, teenage pregnancies, suicide deaths, depression, crime and despair among many Kenyans have increased,” Elijah Mulavu, the chairperson of MPF, said.
Mulavu said this is because the church can no longer offer communal worship, fellowship, counselling and the instructions in the word of God.
He said all churches in Mombasa are ready to host the congregants again.
The chairperson said they have observed guidelines on social distancing and hygiene within the places of worship.
“We have been sensitised by Ministry of Health and other non-governmental organisations on how to deal with affected people, fight stigma and how to protect ourselves and others,” he said.
Mulavu said the government should realise that, “churches offer essential services to communities and should always be considered as such.”
The MPF leadership said churches are orderly and care for the families and their congregants.
“We shall observe order and safety measures as provided by the Ministry of Health and others as proposed by the interfaith committee,” Mulavu said.
MPF secretary general Jane Kamau said government banned church meetings, but Kenyans are still converging in marketplaces, town centres and in public transport.
“In markets, there is nothing like social distance. In public transport, passengers are no longer provided with sanitiser. What we are saying is that churches should be opened because we are ready to ensure that we observe all these regulations of social distance and hygiene,” Kamau said.
At the same time, the MPF leadership said they opposed the reproductive health Bill which is currently before the Senate.
The pastors said the contents of the Bill are not different from what was rejected during the making of the 2010 Constitution.
“The Bill seeks to remove deterrent measures and reduce the sanctity of life of a human being. Those who procure abortion in very unhealthy way should be jailed. We reject the Bill in its entirety,” Mulavu said.
(edited by o. owino)