Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i on Thursday assured clerics that the government would facilitate small church fellowships amid the Coronavirus pandemic.
In what has been interpreted as a compromise following immense pressure from a section of church leaders for the state to reopen churches, Matiang’i said the government would facilitate pastors to move around praying with small groups while observing the government’s social distancing directive.
The CS was speaking after a meeting with religious leaders today.
Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe and his education counterpart George Magoha also attended the meeting.
“The government is determined to work very closely with faith-based organisations, especially our religious leaders. This is a challenge facing all of us, and it’s a time when we have to work together.
“Government will do everything possible to facilitate our religious leaders when they are either recording services or they are moving around to counsel small groups and pray with small groups of people as they observe social distance, ” CS Matiang’i said.
According to the CS, the meeting was initiated by President Uhuru Kenyatta, who is keen at seeing the leaders work together with government during the Covid-19 crisis.
“This is one of our very critical actors and stakeholder in the management of the Covid-19 challenges that we face in the country. We will keep consulting with them. That is what the President has demanded, that this day forward, we constantly engage our religious leaders on the war against Covid,” he told journalists.
The Government is determined to work very closely with faith-based organizations, especially our religious leaders. COVID-19 is a challenge facing all of us and it is time when we have to work together. pic.twitter.com/KD3GM1LDNi
— Dr. Fred Matiang'i (@FredMatiangi) May 21, 2020
Two representatives drawn from among the religious leaders will now sit on the National Emergency Response Committee (NERC) on Coronavirus.
The government shut down churches and mosques in March as part of the measures to contain the spread of the contagious disease.
Two pastors petitioned against the ban and the court allowed the clerics to attend church and conduct online services.
Only pastors and their media teams are allowed to attend the physical churches.
“As a Christian community we are committed to ensuring that we adhere to the guidelines that the government puts in place. We are also going to give proposals on what we think can be done especially on the management of churches so that we can learn to live with this thing without it overtaking us
“So this is what we are working on and we are praying. We are praying that this pandemic will not go where it is projected. So we plan for the worst, but pray for the best,” a representative from the religious groups said after the Thursday meeting.