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Kenya’s Attorney General Publishes New Rules to Shut Down Small Churches!

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According to the Daily Nation , the government has proposed a raft of tough new measures that could radically change the way religious organisations conduct their business.

The new draft rules published by Attorney-General Githu Muigai are aimed at curbing religious societies that swindle Kenyans, engage in money laundering, promote terrorism or become a public nuisance.

The proposed rules come a year after investigative journalists exposed the dubious activities of Mr Victor Kanyari, a supposed pastor in Nairobi, stirring widespread public outrage and ridicule.

The draft regulations cover the registration process and theological qualifications of religious leaders, introduce umbrella bodies that will promote self-regulation and require a declaration of sources of income.

There is also the requirement to give annual returns and audited accounts.

Religious organisations will also have to disclose if members of the same family are holding any leadership positions in the same outfit. Moreover, they will have to state all their assets and liabilities and any affiliations with foreign religious groups.

There has been criticism of some pastors who stand accused of setting up churches primarily to make money and exploit the poor.

Before the new rules were formulated, churches and other religious institutions were only required to fill forms detailing the names of office-bearers, a postal address and their objectives, among other things.

They additionally needed to provide any theological qualifications of the leaders, without specifying a minimum requirement.

After the Pastor Kanyari expose on KTN in November 2014, which was followed up by extensive media coverage, Prof Muigai called a meeting with all religious organisations with a view to coming up with new rules. Some of the tricks exposed were the staging of phone calls to lure radio listeners to “plant a seed” (give offertory) and fake miracles — including mixing the chemical potassium permanganate with water and claiming it is blood.

GULLIBLE CONGREGATION

A year earlier, NTV’s Dennis Okari exposed rogue pastors targeting their gullible congregations in Seeds of Sin.

Saturday, the AG told the Sunday Nation that two consultative meetings were held between the government and Christians, Muslims and members of other religions.

He announced that the rules will be gazetted by the end of January after religious leaders give their input within the next 14 days.

“Last year was for consultations, 2016 will be the implementation year. There shall be rules in place by the end of the month,” he said.
The Kenya National Congress of Pentecostal Churches and Ministries chairman Bishop Mark Kariuki yesterday expressed shock at the draft rules.

He acknowledged that the AG met religious leaders last year and promised to set up a committee made up of representatives from the AG’s office and religious leaders.

“The AG said the committee would have been set up within two months. The committee was to come up with the rules but this never happened. These rules are a big shock to us. I will need to do more consultations before I respond comprehensively,” said Bishop Kariuki.
RELIGIUOS SOCIETIES
All religious societies and religious umbrella bodies are required to comply with the new rules within one year from the day they come into force. The AG said Kenyans had expressed their wishes for regulations and the government had responded.

“Every freedom is subject to the rights of others and the responsibilities of those who enjoy them. There is consensus we cannot continue to have a situation where there isn’t a minimum responsibility on the part of religious institutions to ensure that the freedom of worship is exercised within responsible parameters that don’t infringe on rights of others,” he said.

Prof Muigai added: “These rules are intended to ensure all churches and all religious groups are treated in the same manner so that there can never be any group that may say ‘these rules are good for another group but not good for us.’ They are intended for all.”

He argued that lawyers, accountants, engineers, journalists, all have a framework where they are regulated and therefore religious institutions are no exception.

But the religious leaders then rejected formulation of new rules calling it persecution of the church. Kenya National Congress of Pentecostal Churches and Ministries was opposed to any move to regulate the churches.

Under the rules, all religious societies, those under recognised religions like Christianity, Islam, Hindu among others, will have to abide.
About 80 per cent of Kenyans self-identify as Christians and there is no doubt churches will be hardest hit by these guidelines.

A source at the AG’s office told the Sunday Nation that there are about 20,000 registered churches.

One contentious issue that will spark outrage from the small churches is a requirement that the leader of a church should produce a certified copy of the theological certificate from a duly registered and accredited institution.

Most churches especially, one-man shows, whose only claim to mastery of the Bible is divine intervention, do not emphasise on formal studies for their pastors.

This clause is bound to elicit rejection from the small evangelical churches that may find it hard to comply. Mainstream churches may welcome this provision as most of their clergy have the qualifications.

When registering officials, the religious societies will also be required to provide a copy of national identification card, personal identification card issued by Kenya Revenue Authority and a passport photograph.

EXEMPTION CERTIFICATE

They will also be required to provide a tax clearance or exemption certificate where applicable.
The government is also targeting clear information on property owned by religious organisations, which will greatly affect churches where property appears to be in the hands of the founders.

A religious organisation will also be required to display the certificate of registration.

“A religious society which fails to display the certificate of registration as required under paragraph (1) and each officer of the religious society who is in default, commits an offence and shall be liable, on conviction, to a fine not exceeding Sh10,000 and each officer shall be liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years, or both,” read the guidelines.

The rules also empower the Registrar of Societies to inspect any religious society at any time.

Churches with headquarters outside Kenya will have to declare so and at least a third of their officials must be Kenyan.

The small churches, who have been operating individually, will now be compelled to belong to an umbrella religious society.

 The rules stipulate that the minimum number of members an umbrella body will have will be 2,500.
“Each religious society shall be a member of an umbrella religious society,” read the rules.
There is, however, a provision of a registration of an umbrella body on an interim basis.

“A religious society which fails to register as a member of an umbrella body and each officer of the religious society who is in default, commits an offence and shall be liable, on conviction, to a fine not exceeding Sh20,000 and each officer shall be liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year, or to both,” stipulate the rules.

Just like in the matatu industry where Saccos are encouraged to make their own rules, the umbrella body is also expected to formulate rules that will help members to self-regulate.

The code of conduct is expected to include provisions for reviewing doctrines and religious teachings of its members.

The umbrella body will be expected to create interfaith cooperation and provide a platform for consultation and dialogue between the government and religious societies.

It will also be mandatory for every religious institution to keep a register of all its members, which should be updated every year.

ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING MINUTES

“A religious society which fails to register the members of the religious society under this rule and each officer who is in default, commits an offence and shall be liable, on conviction, to a fine not exceeding Sh10,000 and each officer shall be liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year, or to both,” read the draft rules.
The religious societies will also be required to submit minutes of their annual general meetings to the Registrar. Every year, a religious society will be expected to file, alongside annual returns, a declaration of all assets and liabilities.

They will also give a detailed account on any charitable, educational and other commercial, educational and other commercial activities carried out by the religious society, which shall be authenticated by two-thirds of the members.

 In a move likely to curb money laundering and terrorism funding, religious societies will also be filing bank statements of all accounts they operate.
Moreover, they will be expected to reveal all sources of funding.

“A religious society which submits fraudulent or falsified documents for registration under the rules … and each officer of the religious society who is in default commits an offence,” state the rules.

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8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. clashofclanshack

    January 4, 2016 at 9:21 am

    Almost nothing surprises you as far as developments go, and impact of them is nonexistent.

  2. Mwangi Kaguku

    January 8, 2016 at 4:46 pm

    The government of Kenya continues to complicate our constitution. It’s clear, freedom of worship. Does this mean that we can now worship collectively? No idea.

    I wonder how, why and under what circumstances I would pay a fine while the constitution gives me a right to worship. My understanding of true worshipping will not be complete without evangelism which Jesus commissioned me to.

    Let’s meet two or three and start worshipping. A regulation to have a minimum in a church umbrella is unrealistic. We no longer live in the era of communal practices. Worship in Judea, Samaria, Bethlehem, but in any case keep worshipping.

    What of them who get spiritual nourishment from a certain shepherd? Do we lose them ? The Bible is the basic theological training for a Christian,so are Muslims guided by their Holy book.

    Are these Sanhedrin’s rules?

  3. Alexander Nyenze Mulemi

    January 8, 2016 at 7:22 pm

    The attorney general is misguided. He should have punished those who were found to have committed offences.Churches are registered and the societies act.The attorney general should use that act to bring to book offenders.Churches gave their recommendations on these draft regulations. He should not insist on his way. Because he will be fighting Jesus Christ the founder of the Church. He will either have to get saved like Saul of Tarsus or meet with God’s judgement. He should be counseled to listen to the Church and not to insist on way.

  4. samuel mugo Associate pst

    January 9, 2016 at 12:39 am

    i think its a good idea it will make those people who are opening churches as business to stop and do what is required for them to do am a preacher and i have done a theological course and its good for the government to make sure that people worship in truth and do as the raw requires u to worship and read people but as well let them not use that law to eliminate the pastors and church leaders i think every kenyan citizen who respects the law has his right to live a respective life with respect and dignity

  5. david

    January 9, 2016 at 6:20 am

    No so bad. Christianity teaches accountability. We should be the first to stand and be counted

  6. peter wambua

    January 9, 2016 at 12:06 pm

    muigai is earthly lawyer,not spiritual so he should understand GOD has his way of judgement and has set the time at the end of the world ..to me he should keep off to avoid curse

  7. Dickson Aropu

    January 9, 2016 at 11:47 pm

    This is just a wake up call for believers to arise from sleep and seek God more than ever before, Muigai has no power to stop the church but if believers and true worshippers will sleep then the enemy will gain victory over the church. God is not an idle that he will seat back and let a mortal man bring an end to his work in Kenya, but believers have gone on holidays that is why we get this cases coming into place, let all believers arise and seek God from the youngest child to the oldest let them arise and seek God, like it was in Ninever in that days of Jonah. Posting comments targeting a mortal man will help nothing, He maybe a vessel used to awaken the church from slamber. So Muigai is just a man and he has spoken but what is God saying about the situation? Let us seek him to know his answer.

  8. game

    June 23, 2016 at 3:20 am

    Wow, attractive site. Thnx ..

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Prophecy Watch

Kenyan clinic loses $2m in US aid over Trump abortion policy

Family Health Options Kenya has been forced to close one of its 14 clinics and curtail services at others due to US funding cuts amounting to Sh200 million ($2 million)

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Kenya’s longest-established family planning clinic has lost 60 per cent of its budget for defying a Trump administration policy forbidding women’s health providers from offering information or services related to abortion.

Family Health Options Kenya has been forced to close one of its 14 clinics and curtail services at others due to US funding cuts amounting to Sh200 million ($2 million), Washington-based National Public Radio (NPR) reported on Wednesday.

UNSAFE ABORTION

The loss of aid is leading some pregnant Kenyans to resort to unsafe measures, FHOK reproductive health nurse Melvine Ouyo told the US radio network.

Desperate to terminate unwanted pregnancies, these women and girls go to “curtain clinics” — clandestine settings that lack trained doctors and nurses, Ms Ouyo said. Others use crochet needles, added the nurse who works at a clinic in Kibera.

As an example of the help FHOK provides, Ms Ouyo cited the case of a young orphan girl whose uncle had repeatedly abused her sexually.

When the girl became pregnant at age 13, she was determined not to give birth to a baby that would be the product of incest, Ms Ouyo related.

“This girl comes to you suicidal,” the nurse told NPR. “She had already attempted unsafe abortion. She had taken herbs given by friends. Her friends referred her to us, and she was able to access safe abortion services.”

President Trump’s promulgation and expansion of what critics term a “global gag rule” could also prevent FHOK from delivering services unrelated to abortion.

HIV treatments, cancer screenings, post-natal care and vaccinations are among the services Family Health Options may be unable to provide due to the $2 million budget cut.

Deeply impoverished Kenyan women and girls are not seeking care from FHOK clinics because they are unable to pay the small fee the carer now charges to compensate for the loss of US funding, Ms Ouyo said.

Mr Trump and other Republican presidents dating to the 1980s have used the so-called gag rule to spread their anti-abortion policies to developing countries.

One day after taking office in 2017, Mr Trump ordered reinstatement of the rule that had been rescinded by President Obama.

But there is evidence that the ban on services or referrals fails to reduce the incidence of abortions—and may actually have the opposite effect.

A Stanford University study found that rates of induced abortions rose sharply between 1994 and 2008 in African countries most affected by the rule.

SOURCE: Daily Nation

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Prophecy Watch

Russia prepares for nuclear war with US, instructing citizens to buy water and gas masks

The channel’s newscasters also displayed charts explaining how much water people need to store for drinking, washing their face and hands, and preparing food every day—and how that amount changes depending on the temperature of a person’s bomb shelter

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Russian state-owned television is urging the country’s residents to stock their bunkers with water and basic foodstuffs because Moscow could go to war with Washington.

Warning that the potential conflict between the two superpowers would be “catastrophic,” an anchor for Russia’s Vesti 24 showed off shelves of food, recommending that people buy salt, oatmeal and other products that can last a long time on the shelves. Powdered milk lasts five years while sugar and rice can last up to eight years, the newscaster explained before showing videos of pasta cooking in a bomb shelter.

The channel’s newscasters also displayed charts explaining how much water people need to store for drinking, washing their face and hands, and preparing food every day—and how that amount changes depending on the temperature of a person’s bomb shelter. The program also recommended that people stock up on gas masks and read guides on how to survive nuclear war.

The program aired just one day after sources told Newsweek that “there is a major war scare” in Moscow, as President Donald Trump prepares to strike Syria in retaliation for the use of chemical weapons against civilians over the weekend. The Trump administration has said it believes Syria’s Russian-backed President Bashar al-Assad was responsible for the attacks, and it plans to ensure that Assad pays the price. Russian military forces have responded by saying that Moscow would meet fire with fire and said that it will shoot down any U.S. missiles.

“If there is a strike by the Americans, then the missiles will be downed and even the sources from which the missiles were fired,” warned Alexander Zasypkin, Russia’s ambassador to Lebanon, during an interview on Tuesday with a television station linked to Hezbollah.

The increasingly bellicose rhetoric has sparked fears that a conflict could break out between two nuclear-armed superpowers. On Wednesday morning, Trump took to Twitter to issue a stark warning to Russia, which he accused of partnering with “a Gas Killing Animal who kills his people and enjoys it!”

But he later walked back the statement, calling for an end to the arms race with Russia.

Source: MSN

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Prophecy

What is the historical evidence that Jesus Christ lived and died?

Today some claim that Jesus is just an idea, rather than a real historical figure, but there is a good deal of written evidence for his existence 2,000 years ago

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Christ alive … Robert Powell as Jesus of Nazareth in 1977. Photograph: ITV/Rex

How confident can we be that Jesus Christ actually lived?

The historical evidence for Jesus of Nazareth is both long-established and widespread. Within a few decades of his supposed lifetime, he is mentioned by Jewish and Roman historians, as well as by dozens of Christian writings. Compare that with, for example, King Arthur, who supposedly lived around AD500. The major historical source for events of that time does not even mention Arthur, and he is first referred to 300 or 400 years after he is supposed to have lived. The evidence for Jesus is not limited to later folklore, as are accounts of Arthur.

What do Christian writings tell us?

The value of this evidence is that it is both early and detailed. The first Christian writings to talk about Jesus are the epistles of St Paul, and scholars agree that the earliest of these letters were written within 25 years of Jesus’s death at the very latest, while the detailed biographical accounts of Jesus in the New Testament gospels date from around 40 years after he died. These all appeared within the lifetimes of numerous eyewitnesses, and provide descriptions that comport with the culture and geography of first-century Palestine. It is also difficult to imagine why Christian writers would invent such a thoroughly Jewish saviour figure in a time and place – under the aegis of the Roman empire – where there was strong suspicion of Judaism.

What did non-Christian authors say about Jesus?

As far as we know, the first author outside the church to mention Jesus is the Jewish historian Flavius Josephus, who wrote a history of Judaism around AD93. He has two references to Jesus. One of these is controversial because it is thought to be corrupted by Christian scribes (probably turning Josephus’s negative account into a more positive one), but the other is not suspicious – a reference to James, the brother of “Jesus, the so-called Christ”.

About 20 years after Josephus we have the Roman politicians Pliny and Tacitus, who held some of the highest offices of state at the beginning of the second century AD. From Tacitus we learn that Jesus was executed while Pontius Pilate was the Roman prefect in charge of Judaea (AD26-36) and Tiberius was emperor (AD14-37) – reports that fit with the timeframe of the gospels. Pliny contributes the information that, where he was governor in northern Turkey, Christians worshipped Christ as a god. Neither of them liked Christians – Pliny writes of their “pig-headed obstinacy” and Tacitus calls their religion a destructive superstition.

Did ancient writers discuss the existence of Jesus?

Strikingly, there was never any debate in the ancient world about whether Jesus of Nazareth was a historical figure. In the earliest literature of the Jewish Rabbis, Jesus was denounced as the illegitimate child of Mary and a sorcerer. Among pagans, the satirist Lucian and philosopher Celsus dismissed Jesus as a scoundrel, but we know of no one in the ancient world who questioned whether Jesus lived.

How controversial is the existence of Jesus now?

In a recent book, the French philosopher Michel Onfray talks of Jesus as a mere hypothesis, his existence as an idea rather than as a historical figure. About 10 years ago, The Jesus Project was set up in the US; one of its main questions for discussion was that of whether or not Jesus existed. Some authors have even argued that Jesus of Nazareth was doubly non-existent, contending that both Jesus and Nazareth are Christian inventions. It is worth noting, though, that the two mainstream historians who have written most against these hypersceptical arguments are atheists: Maurice Casey (formerly of Nottingham University) and Bart Ehrman (University of North Carolina). They have issued stinging criticisms of the “Jesus-myth” approach, branding it pseudo-scholarship. Nevertheless, a recent survey discovered that 40% of adults in England did not believe that Jesus was a real historical figure.

Is there any archaeological evidence for Jesus?

Part of the popular confusion around the historicity of Jesus may be caused by peculiar archaeological arguments raised in relation to him. Recently there have been claims that Jesus was a great-grandson of Cleopatra, complete with ancient coins allegedly showing Jesus wearing his crown of thorns. In some circles, there is still interest in the Shroud of Turin, supposedly Jesus’s burial shroud. Pope Benedict XVI stated that it was something that “no human artistry was capable of producing” and an “icon of Holy Saturday”.

It is hard to find historians who regard this material as serious archaeological data, however. The documents produced by Christian, Jewish and Roman writers form the most significant evidence.

These abundant historical references leave us with little reasonable doubt that Jesus lived and died.

Adapted from The Gaurdian

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