- Churches in Mombasa have welcomed the decision to waive rates for worship places.
- The Bishops also asked Nassir to scrap away crusade fees charged on churches.
Churches, Mosques, temples, and all other places of worship shall be exempted from paying land rates, Mombasa Governor-elect Abdulswamad Nassir has said.
Speaking during his first church visit since he was declared winner of the highly contested elections, Nassir said he will sign an executive order to ensure all places of worship do not pay land county rates.
“I want to thank you for all your support and prayers, we wouldn’t be here today without you. Now it is our time to be able to deliver on our promises to the people,” said Nassir.
“The first executive order I am going to issue is that of waiving off any levy related to churches and all places of worship, there will be no more issue of churches paying land rates or levies to the county.”
He spoke at the Holy Ghost Cathedral Catholic Church in Mombasa.
Nassir also promised to support the Catholic Church in Mombasa as it prepares to commemorate 100 years of existence.
“We intend to make the event an international one, utilize my office to the maximum and we shall support you unconditionally,” he said.
Churches in Mombasa have welcomed the decision to waive rates for worship places.
Bishop Lambat Mbela of the Redeemed Gospel Church Mikindani said that this will now make the church feel more at home in Mombasa.
“We received the news with a lot of joy and thanks, the issue was long overdue,” said Mbela.
He said that the move shows that he has a listening ear for all religions and urged him to foster the equality of all religions in Mombasa.
He said that there had been a lot of disquiet within the Christian fraternity with people saying that it was only the churches that were being forced to pay the land rates.
“It has been an open secret causing a bone of contention. Now that has decided to do away with it at least it will bring some harmony between religions,” Mbela said.
Bishop Mbela the land rate amount varies depending on the size of the plot of the church as the fee is calculated per square meter.
The Bishop also asked Nassir to scrap away crusade fees charged on churches.
He said that they are being charged Sh4,000 per day to hold crusades.
“We Christians love to hold gospel campaigns like crusades. We ask him to also waive charges on crusades because we can’t be charged for preaching peace, reconciliation, and salvation. We want the fee removed,” he said.
The Kenya Muslim National Advisory Council (Kemnac) has also welcomed the move.
Speaking to Star, Kemnac chair Sheikh Juma Ngao lauded Nassir saying that he had begun on the right track.
“He (Nassir) will go on record as the first governor whose first duty after being sworn in, was to support religion. On that, we back him 100 percent,” said Ngao.
He asked Nassir to set aside money to cater to the economic welfare of Sheikhs, Imams, and Madrasa teachers, whom he said, live in deplorable conditions despite the good work they do in shaping society.
“I ask him to channel the money that will be used to entertain visitors and important dignitaries during his swearing-in ceremony to this cause. I am not against partying, but we have more pressing issues,” Ngao said.
He further asked Nassir to help improve the Islamic religious songs commonly referred to as Qaswida, saying that most are prepared and recited by madrassa teachers.
He said if they get promoted well, then the teachers will be able to cater for their economic needs.
Ngao further said that Kemnac was in the process of formulating a committee of learned Muslim Scholars that will be working with the governor and advising him on religious matters.
He said that by the fact that the governor is named Sheriff, he should strive to maintain the respect and title that comes with that name.
“Sheriff in Islam is a big title, he is a sheriff and must be guided by religion. We don’t want him to be overtaken by the worldly things and drug the title on the mud, some of us were taught religion by respectable sheriffs in the country,” he said.
He added that they were also working towards creating an interfaith council that will also be advising the governor.