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CONSTITUTIONAL FREEDOM

Don't use Covid-19 to gag churches - Siaya clergy

Elders ask why markets and bars are opened and not places of worship.

In Summary

• Bishop says pandemic is here to stay and if the government wants long lasting modalities in any sector, it will be prudent to involve all stakeholders. 

• Church elders faulted Interior CS Matiang’i for misleading the President by insinuating that churches are insisting on opening because of the offertories.


Siaya county church elders led by Bishop Isaac Obure addressing journalist in Siaya on Wednesday
Siaya county church elders led by Bishop Isaac Obure addressing journalist in Siaya on Wednesday
Image: By Lameck Baraza

Siaya church elders have accused the government of using the Covid-19 crisis to ban churches from freedom of worship.

The elders led by Bishop Isaac Obure of Future Life Ministry Church said it beats logic to open a supermarket, open-air markets and bars but close places of worship.  

Obure warned that the government should not hide behind the pandemic to regulate churches when freedom of worship is enshrined in the Constitution.

“If institutions like restaurants, bars and open markets have been opened, why is it so hard to open churches in line with the already set Ministry of Health guidelines,” Obure said.

The bishop said the government should not perceive the church as the only institution where people don’t follow the law.

The elders also faulted Interior CS Fred Matiang’i for misleading the President by insinuating that churches are insisting on opening because of the offertories.

The elders demanded an apology from the minister “for mocking the house of God”.

Bishop Obure said churches are ready to follow the guidelines to keep worshipping adding that prayers are the only solution to the situation.

“What is special that the churches have refused to do in line with the guidelines that the supermarkets are doing to warrant their opening?” the bishop asked.  

Obure at the same time faulted the committee formed by Matiang’i and his Health counterpart Mutahi Kagwe for having a single church representative.

He said it worries the church officials that only one bishop is in the committee to review the modalities of reopening churches.

“One will wonder what type of modalities the imbalanced committee will come up with that is superior to the health guidelines,” he said, terming the representation a slap in the face of the numerous denominations registered in the country.

Obure said the pandemic is here to stay and if the government wants long lasting modalities in any sector, it will be prudent to involve all stakeholders.

Edited by R.Wamochie