Interior Cabinet secretary Fred Matiangi and his health counterpart Mutahi Kagwe have appointed an inter faith council on Covid-19 pandemic.
The team of 15 leaders from different faiths will oversee phased reopening of places of worship.In a statement from the office of the ministry of interior, the two have appointed archbishop Anthony Muheria as the chairperson of the council that will oversee the resumption Inter person congregational worship and spiritual functions in line with the set COVID-19 mitigation measures.
Other members of the council include CITAM bishop Dr. David Oginde, former NCCK chairperson Canon Rosemary Mbogo, EAK General Secretary Rev. Connie Kivuti, sheikh sukyan hassan omar, Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims, deputy secretary general Hassan Ole Naado among others.Directors of public health, Dr. Kepha Ombacho , Dr. Francis Kuria and Dr. Paul Famba will be the council’s secretaries.
The council will serve the next six months and its term will expire on the 31st December this year.
Churches have been calling on the government to re-open churches, arguing that the government should recognize the important role that they (churches ) can play in the war against COVID 19 pandemic.
On Monday, clerics under the Kenya Pentecostal Alliance (KPA) churches said the government’s decision to close churches because it considers them social gatherings was discriminatory. Speaking in Athi River, KPA chairperson Bishop Jonah Kariuki noted that churches are institutions with laid- down administrative structures to govern their operations.
The clerics want the government to work with churches in creating awareness about the spread of the pandemic.They said they expected the President to allow churches to reopen last Sunday given that most churches were ready to adhere to the Ministry of Health guidelines.
“Let the government understand that churches should not to be classified as social gatherings. They are institutions that need to be recognised in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic. Churches control huge congregations. Let the government allow them to reopen,” Bishop Kariuki said.
Like other churches in the country, the KPA members are using social media and other forums to deliver sermons to their members as well to educate them on how to protect themselves from the coronavirus.
However, they supported the extension of the lockdowns in Covid-19 hotspots, including Mombasa and Nairobi.