Recent sentiments made by Mama Ida Odinga, which she later retracted, on the regulation of churches have continued to elicit mixed reactions.
Ida called on the National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK) to regulate churches and streamline the consistency and relevance in their doctrines and messages, especially the small churches.
Pastor T Mwangi, a renowned evangelist, joined the debate, explaining that no new churches have been registered since 2014.
In an interview with NTV comedian and show host,Dr King’ori, on Friday, February 4, Pastor T noted that the registration of churches was halted six years ago.
He added that the national government closed the church registration portal back in 2014 hampering the issuance of new legal documentation.
According to Pastor T, the ministries sprouting recently have not been registered but only receive the right to operate under the cover of a parent church.
“It is for that reason that many churches have similar names but are identified by their different locations.
“The government started regulating churches a long time ago. But from 2014, the church registration portal was shut down. From that time we have not registered any new churches,” Pastor T stated.
He added, “if right now someone gets a calling, he cannot open a new church but he will have to operate under the cover of the founding church, that is why you see many many churches bearing similar names.”
Pastor T, however, noted that government has a proposed document guiding the regulation of churches but it is yet to be approved or enacted.
“Former Attorney General Githu Muigai drafted the document which has faced multiple delays and is yet to be signed into law,” he added.
The National Government had initially proposed a law requiring all preachers to hold certificates from accredited theological institutions.
It also proposed to have religious organisations be registered and open to the registrar’s inspection. The rules further suggested the introduction of umbrella bodies to promote self-regulation and require a declaration of sources of income.
These guidelines were drafted following increased cases of conning, the emergence of controversial doctrines and radicalisation.