After the recent Shakahola mass murder, President William Ruto has formed a 17-member task force to review legal and regulatory frameworks governing religious organizations in Kenya.

In a gazette notice dated May 5, President Ruto announced that Reverend Mutava Musyimi will chair the committee which will be operational for the next six months.

Bishop Mark Kariuki, Bishop (Dr.) Eli Rop, Archbishop Maurice Muhatia, Judy Thongori, Rev (Dr.) Alphonse Kanga, Bishop Philip Kitoto and Dr. Faridun Abdalla will sit on the committee as members.

They will be joined by Prof. Musili Wambua, Joseph Khalende Wabwire, Mary Awuor Kitegi, Charles Kanjama, Leah Kasera, Nancy Murega and Wilson Wanyanga.

Martin Ndiwa Talian and Maria Goretti Nyariki will serve as the taskforce’s joint secretaries.

Role of the task force

President Ruto added that the task force’s main responsibilities will include identifying gaps that have allowed extremist religious organizations to set up shop in Kenya, as well as formulate a legal framework preventing radical religious entities from operating locally.

It will also formulate proposals on amendments to various laws so as to enable the State to effectively tackle religious cults.

The task force will also table proposals on civic education to sensitize Kenyans on the need to avoid religious cults.

“The task force shall formulate proposals for a mechanism for the public to report religious extremists in their local communities and also come up with standards and minimum certification requirements for religious organizations to be registered and to operate in Kenya,” read the notice.

The committee will also be required to recommend actions that the State may take against individuals and organisations suspected of engaging in extremist religious practices. 

Formulate proposals on standards and minimum certification requirements for all religious organizations and their leaders for them to be allowed to be registered and to operate in their local communities,” Ruto instructed the team.

By Wanjiru Mbaru

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