KENYA: President Ruto Appoints Archbishop Muhatia to Taskforce Reviewing Religious Organizations in Country

By Paschal Norbert

NAIROBI, MAY 5, 2023 (CISA) President William Samoei Ruto has constituted a Presidential Taskforce on the Review of the Legal and Regulatory Framework Governing Religious Organizations in Kenya.

The need to constitute the taskforce, according to the president, is in light of the Shakahola Tragedy that has brought to the fore the existence of religious extremist organizations, sects, cults, and similar outfits in Kenya that have occasioned death or serious harm to Kenyans.

Hence, “the need to review the legal and regulatory framework governing religious organizations in Kenya so as to ensure that similar tragedies do not recur in the future.”

In a Kenya Gazette notice dated May 5, 2023, President Ruto appointed Rev Mutava Musyimi, former Secretary General of the National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK) and former Mbeere South member of parliament as the chairperson of the taskforce.

Archbishop Maurice Muhatia of Kisumu and vice-chairperson of the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB) alongside Catholic lawyer, Charles Kanjama, have also been appointed as members of the presidential taskforce.

Other members include: Bishop Mark Kariuki, Bishop (Dr.) Eli Rop, Judy Thongori, Rev (Dr.) Alphonse Kanga, Bishop Philip Kitoto, Faridun Abdalla (Dr.), Prof. Musili Wambua, Joseph Khalende Wabwire, Mary Awour Kitegi, Leah Kasera, Nancy Murega, and Wilson Wanyanga.

The taskforce, which will be in place for six months is mandated to “identify the legal, institutional, and governance challenges/gaps that have allowed or may allow for religious extremist organizations, sects, cults, and other similar outfits in Kenya to engage in practices detrimental to individual health and safety, the public interest, or our national values,” among other duties.

The president has also instituted a commission of inquiry into the Shakahola tragedy, which will be led by Hon. Lady Justice Jessie W. Lesiit.