Governors Propose Guidelines for The Reopening of Churches  

  • A photo of Turkana Governor Josphat Nanok at Movenpick during the Council of Governors meeting in Nairobi.
    Turkana Governor Josphat Nanok at Movenpick during the Council of Governors meeting in Nairobi.
    Simon Kiragu
  • The Council of Governors has proposed that only 30 people should be allowed in places of worship per service, once churches are reopened. 

    In a statement posted on Twitter, the CoG announced Protocols on the Gradual Reopening of Places of Worship including no limit to the number of services a church can hold.

    “More than one service can be held on the same day, however, there must be at least one hour between each service, to facilitate proper sanitization of the Venue,” CoG noted on their Twitter page. 

    President Uhuru Kenyatta speaking at State House on May 23, 2020
    President Uhuru Kenyatta speaking at State House on May 23, 2020
    PSCU

    President Uhuru Kenyatta on Monday, June 1, announced that he had directed Interior CS Fred Matiang'i and Health CS Mutahi Kagwe to hasten talks with religious leaders that would see churches resume

    "I direct the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Health to continue and hasten their engagement with religious leaders," the president stated.

    He said this while acknowledging that Kenya was a God-fearing nation and places of worship needed to be reopened.

    When affirming the need to re-open places of worship, Governors acknowledged the tough guidelines that had previously been outlined in a bid to safeguard congregants from contracting Covid-19.

    Cabinet Secretaries Dr Fred Matiang’i (Interior), Prof George Magoha (Education) and Mutahi Kagwe (Health) had earlier this month held a closed-door meeting with religious leaders to discuss Covid-19 protocols in places of worship, setting the stage for reopening of the sanctuaries.

    Places of worship are waiting on the next presidential announcement, which is expected to give direction on how and when to reopen.

    Proposed guidelines have limited the number of congregants to a few people who will be required to stay at least 1.5 metres apart, while those aged 60 and above, as well as those with underlying conditions, would be required to follow the services from home due to the risk of infection.

    Under the proposals, governors also want individuals with underlying health conditions to be restricted from attending prayers at places of worship but instead should follow online services at home. 

    The proposals also push for the banning of choirs and singing during service and instead want the adoption of pre-recorded devotional songs.

    This alongside the ban of holy water, sandalwood paste and touching of holy statues at the places of worship. 

    In addition, if the proposals go through, places of worship will be encouraged to adopt contactless tithe and offerings systems i.e. MPESA Paybill numbers, Bank Account Numbers etc. 

    “Those touching any papers in the form of cheques or cash must wear gloves and sanitize their hands,” Governors stated. 

    A pastor on a podium inside Jubilee Christian Church Managed by Kathy Kiuna and her Husband Allan Kiuna.
    A pastor on a podium inside Jubilee Christian Church Managed by Kathy Kiuna and her Husband Allan Kiuna.
    Twitter

    Kenyans have had to be innovative as churches remain closed with some even resorting to turning Ngong Forest into their new place of worship

    Other worshippers, on the other hand, have opted to flout Covid-19 rules as was the case where an estimated 100 worshippers from Mitume village in Kitale Town were arrested on June 12. 

    The proposals by Governors were presented to President Uhuru Kenyatta at a virtual summit that brought together Deputy President William Ruto as well as 46 governors to seek a consensus on safety measures to be enforced prior to reopening the country. 

    Technical teams dealing with various sectors and interest groups have up to July 5 to deliver ‘irreducible minimum’ protocols to be adopted in the phased approach to opening up the country.