Uproar from religious leaders as government releases guidelines

Wednesday, July 8th, 2020 00:00 |
Uproar from religious leaders as government releases guidelines.

Monica Kagia, Ann Salaton, Robert Ochoro and Eric Juma

Religious leaders across the country yesterday protested the strict conditions imposed by the government for the phased re-opening of places of worship, with many taking offence with the guideline barring the elderly and children from churches and mosques. 

Muslim and Christian leaders were united in their opposition to the rule limiting the number of congregants to just 100 per service, saying some churches and mosques have capacity to hold higher numbers. 

Bishop Paul Mwaura of the Pentecostal Church in Jomvu, Mombasa criticised the decision to lock out children below thirteen and adults above 58 years saying it is practically impossible to select the worshippers based on age. 

“Are we going to be stopping our congregants to check their IDs and birth certificates?” Mwaura wondered.

He demanded that prayer halls with larger capacity be allowed to hold more congregants.

“We are grateful that the churches have been allowed to re-open, but again telling me to have 100 people per service and my church can accommodate a bigger number and still adhere to social distancing does not make sense,” said Mwaura. 

He warned that all children ought to be allowed to attend prayers so that religious leaders could instil good morals in them.

Muslim clerics led by Mohamed Khalid, a faithful at Masjid Musa in Mombasa also protested the decision to lock out the elderly from accessing places of worship. 

“This disease should not be used to stop God’s commands, we understand that it is killing but we are asking that we allow our fathers and grandfathers to go and pray.

These are the people that push our youths to go and pray and without them, we will fail” said Khalid. 

But Sheikh Abuu Khatadha from the same mosque also urged worshippers to adhere to the guidelines given by the government until things get better.

“We are thankful that our mosques are open for prayers but since most people or even mosques might not afford to keep on fumigating and getting sanitizers for worshipers we are asking the government to help in providing this,”Khatadha said. 

In Baringo county, church leaders led by Bishop William Kitilit, asked the government to review the guidelines.

“Allowing children into churches is important for it inculcates good moral values which are very vital during this period when they are out of school.

Let’s have scheduled time for the elderly and children to worship. They will feel sidelined if left at home,” he said. 

In Narok town, the fellowship chairperson Bishop Peter Nakola said the churches will strictly follow guidelines imposed by the government to avert the spread of Covid-19. 

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