KENYA: President Directs Ministries to Consult Clerics on Reopening of Places of Worship

NAIROBI, JUNE 2, 2020 (CISA)-President Uhuru Kenyatta has directed the Ministry of Interior and that of Health to consult with religious leaders on guidelines for safe reopening of places of worship in the country amid Covid-19 pandemic.

“…conscious of Kenya as a God-fearing nation, I direct the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Health to continue and hasten their engagement with religious leaders; with the objective of developing protocols that will be adopted to guide a more participatory way of worship while guaranteeing the safety of worshipers,” the president said on June 1 during the country’s 57th Madaraka Day celebrations held at Statehouse, Nairobi.

Meetings between ministry officials and clerics have been ongoing. Speaking Thursday May 21 after a meeting with the clerics, Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Interior & Coordination of National Government Dr Fred Matiang’i said the consultations will form part of a joint effort in ensuring that people adhere to the Covid-19 health guidelines.

“The government is determined to work closely with faith-based organisations, especially religious leaders… the government will do everything to facilitate religious leaders when recording services or moving around to counsel small groups or pray with small groups of people as they observe the social distance,” CS Matiang’i said.

He acknowledged that the religious leaders are crucial in the fight against coronavirus because of their influence in the places of worship which attract many people. The May 21 meeting was also attended by Cabinet Secretary of Health Mutahi Kagwe, Cabinet Secretary of Education George Magoha, Archbishop Phillip Anyolo the President of Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishop, the Archbishop of Nairobi, John Cardinal Njue and representatives of other religious denominations in the country.

Places of worship were ordered closed by the government on March 22 to help contain the spread of coronavirus.