Azimio a Umoja-One Kenya coalition party leadership in Parliament has called for the regulation of churches, mosques, temples, and synagogues in Kenya.
Speaking on Monday, April 24, National Assembly Minority Leader Opiyo Wandayi said rogue characters are misleading Kenyans in the name of religion.
"We must come up with ways to stop deranged and criminal characters from destroying humanity in the name of religion," Wandayi said.
"We support the call for tighter regulation of religious entities including churches, mosques, temples, and synagogues."
This follows the revelation that dozens have died in Malindi, after their religious leader, Pastor Mackenzie Nthenge, allegedly influenced them to starve to death in order to "meet Jesus".
Wandayi's sentiments were echoed by Senate Minority Leader Stewart Madzayo, who blamed the government for failing to play its part in averting the deaths.
"As all these were happening, where were the local security officers including the chiefs, police officers and even NIS (National Intelligence Service)," Madzayo said.
Shakahola cult triggering the call for regulation of churches
On Monday, 11 more bodies were exhumed in Shakahola village, bringing the total number of those exhumed since the exercise began on Friday to 50.
According to Inspector-General of Police Japhet Koome who visited the scene, 29 people had been rescued and taken to hospital.
Eight of those who had been rescued had died as of Monday mid-day, bringing the total tally of confirmed deaths to 58.
On Sunday, Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki termed the deaths as a "massacre" that had gone beyond the freedom of worship.
"The unfolding Shakahola Forest Massacre is the clearest abuse of the constitutionally enshrined human right to freedom of worship. Prima facie, large-scale crimes under Kenyan law, as well as international law, have been committed. While the State remains respectful of religious freedom, this horrendous blight on our conscience must lead not only to the most severe punishment of the perpetrator(s) of the atrocity on so many innocent souls but tighter regulation (including self-regulation) of every church, mosque, temple or synagogue going forward," Kindiki stated.
Kindiki is set to visit the area on Tuesday, April 25, 2023. The 800-acre Shakahola forest where the victims and cult followers have been hiding has been declared an active crime scene with more police officers deployed.