The rate at which briefcases “churches” are sprouting within neighborhoods in Nairobi and its environs is alarming and much worse the noise illuminating from the structures.
It seems as though for anyone who can’t find a job in Kenya and can afford a big speaker, opening a church is another way of hustling all together. The situation is worse in low-income neighborhoods where there seem to be more churches than schools.
The government has a process for registering a church in Kenya and in 2016 issued new regulations for religious leaders, churches.
The regulations require among other key things that; all pastors in Kenya must hold a theological certificate from an accredited theological institution and all clerics to submit certificates of good conduct and their theological training certificates.
The law also requires all religious organizations to submit their constitution showing a statement of their doctrine of faith. The rules affect imams, pastors, rabbis, and other religious leaders.
However, judging from all the satellite churches that are mushrooming in the city it’s evident that these regulations are not being adhered to.
In 2018 Rwanda passed new legislation aimed to regulate faith-based organizations in the central African country. The law requires pastors to have a theology degree before they can start their own churches.
The same year Rwanda Authorities closed more than 6,000 churches and 100 mosques including 714 in the capital city of Kigali, within a span of two months, for failure to comply with health, safety, and noise regulations.
While freedom of worship is a fundamental right enshrined in the constitution, the government also has a responsibility to protect citizens from the wanton fraud by fake pastors, who are taking advantage of their impoverished followers while making neighborhoods unbearable for residents.
Noise pollution is also an area that is regulated in Kenya by the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA). A quick look on NEMA’s website or the frequently searched things on NEMA on Google; “How to report noise pollution by a religious organization” ranks top.
Authorities should crack the whip and save Kenyans from the nuisance of loud and rowdy preachers.