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Atheists rush to court to block Thursday’s Pope holiday

Atheists have moved to court in a bid to challenge the government’s declaration of Thursday as national holiday terming the move as unconstitutional.

Through their organization, Atheists in Kenya, their president Harrison Mumia has filed a case at the High Court seeking to have the gazette notice issued to declare Thursday a public holiday nullified.

President Uhuru Kenyatta had on Tuesday declared Thursday 26 a public holiday and national day of prayer and reflection ahead of the Pope Francis visit.

Mr Mumia said the move by the government contravenes Articles 8, 9 and 32 of the Constitution and injures the economy.

NO STATE RELIGION

“The constitution clearly states that there shall be no state religion. We cannot have the government acting religiously,” said Mr Mumia, who accused the government of portraying the country as a Christian state.

He added that by declaring Thursday a national day of prayer, the government was acting contrary to article 32 of the constitution.

“It is well highlighted that a person shall not be compelled to act, or engage in any act, that is contrary to the person’s belief or religion,” added Mr Mumia.

On the economy, the organization argues that with little business being conducted, so much revenue will be lost and this would have great effects.

NULLIFY HOLIDAY

The atheist are now seeking a court order to nullify the gazette notice and have Thursday be treated as a normal day.

“We trust in the judicial system and we hope that the right thing will be done and people will resume their duties come Thursday,” said Mr Mumia.