•Under the bill, two per cent of the CDF will be allocated to religious activities.
•MP says the proposed law will not increase public spending or affect the activities of county government.
Religious institutions will be among the beneficiaries of the Constituency Development kitty if a bill brought to Parliament by Suna West MP Peter Masara becomes law.
Under the Masara bill, two per cent of the CDF will be allocated to religious activities.
The MP, who spoke during a funds drive at Migori West SDA Church in his constituency on Saturday, said that missionaries laid Kenya’s foundation through education and health facilities. We need to include them in development.”
“We have most learning and health institutions managed by churches; we also have orphanages, rescue centres for vulnerable and widow support centres supported by churches which will benefit from this change,” he said.
The legislator tabled the bill on May 17. He said the proposed law will not increase public spending or affect the activities of county government. It will also not limit fundamental rights and freedom of Kenyans.
The bill seeks to change the National Government CDF (Amendment) Bill, 2019, which restricts funding of religious activities.
“Funds provided under this Act shall not be used for purposes of supporting political bodies or activities; or support religious bodies or religious activities.”
The bill will seek to delete the part, "or for supporting religious bodies or religious activities".
Homa Bay Senator Moses Kajwang’, who was also at the funds' drive, welcomed the bill, stating that the preamble of the Constitution calls for God to guide the nation.
PEFA Bishop John Okinda and the secretary general of church leaders in Migori county praised the move and said the church played a pivotal role in society and needed to be included in government projects.
But Migori civil rights activist Titus Orwa warned that that the bill will water down the space of churches to stand up against the government and political leaders.
“We had church leadership which stood up against the one-party system in Kenya and South Africa and even corrupt the Mobutu regime in Zaire. A church seeking funds from politicians will be a lapdog,” Orwa said.
“The move to fund churches should have come when our schools were in good condition. Why add churches to a kitty when pupils still sit on stones?” he asked.
The activist warned that the move may open doors for private institutions to also seek funding from NG-CDF as churches are also not controlled and registered.
(Edited by R.Wamochie)