Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua's wife Pastor Dorcas Rigathi now insists that the government has no capacity or power to regulate churches.
Pastor Dorcas insisted that churches are spiritual movements that operate on the basis of faith as the moral compass and conscience of society, while the government is a machinery through which a political unit exercises authority and performs functions.
As such, she upheld that the government has no capacity to regulate spiritual movements as it has no clear understanding of their operations.
She made the statements in the wake of sustained calls for a law to regulate churches owned and run by individuals and self-professed pastors, especially following mushroomed cult sects in the country.
The DP’s wife noted that while churches could be audited, such an activity could only happen internally and not be instigated externally by the government.
“You cannot be able to legislate church, you cannot be able to regulate that which you don’t understand. When they say that the church should be governed by a person who has gone to school and who has degrees and PHDs, I ask them, where is it written in the Bible, which college did Jesus go to? When it comes to matters divine, they better leave it to us,” Pastor Dorcas stated.
Addressing Kiambu Pastors Fellowship in a conference for chaplaincy at Christian Church International (CCI) in Thika, Kiambu County on Tuesday evening, Pastor Dorcas maintained that regulating churches was tantamount to curtailing freedom of religion as envisaged in the Kenyan Constitution.
Under Article 32, the Constitution prohibits religious discrimination and protects religious freedom, including the freedom to practice any religion or belief through worship, teaching, or observance, and to debate religious questions.
But some churches are alleged to have been engaging in 'unacceptable' practices in the country, a move that has seen a section of leaders and Kenyans call on the government to critically investigate the activities of such churches and pastors to protect Kenyans from exploitation.
Pastor Dorcas on generalization of churches
Pastor Dorcas sustained that the government should not exercise blanket condemnation for all churches as most of the institutions have well-rooted principles of positively transforming society.
“You cannot find one prophet and say that all prophets are false. It is wrong to wrap everybody up and criminalize them. People are different and behave differently,” she stated.
“As teachers in the church of God, we play an integral role in the government and in society; the Church and Government can never be separated because both are called to serve God's people. They complement each other to dignify the lives and future of all citizens,” she added.
She made the statements days after Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki called for tougher measures to regulate religious activities in the country going forward, including self-regulation of the organizations.
This happened even as the process of forming a law to regulate religious activities in the country began after the Senate last month formed an Ad-hoc committee to propose laws aimed at bringing sanity to religious institutions.
The Senate took issue with how leaders of religious institutions have been taking advantage of gullible Kenyans and especially children, the latest incident in Shakahola leading to the deaths of more than 100 citizens.
In a motion moved by Majority Whip and Kakemega Senator Bonny Khalwale, the Senate mandated the 11-member committee to investigate circumstances leading to the death of followers of the Good News International Church.