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Matiang’i, Kagwe appoint council to oversee reopening of worship places

Interior CS Fred Matiang’i and his Health counterpart Mutahi Kagwe on Friday appointed an Inter-Faith Council that will oversee a phased reopening of places of worship.

The President last Saturday directed the two to within seven days constitute an Inter-Faith Council, to work out modalities and protocols of re-opening of the places of worship.

In a statement, they said the appointment follows extensive consultations between the Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government and the Ministry of Health with inter-religious leaders with a view to developing protocols for onsite worship under the prevailing circumstances.

“In line with the directives issued during the eighth presidential address on the Coronavirus pandemic on Saturday, June 6, Cabinet Secretaries Fred Matiang’i (Interior) and Mutahi Kagwe (Health) have jointly appointed an interfaith council that will oversee phased reopening of places of worship,” it read in part.

Congregational worship

It will be Chaired by Most (Rev.) Archbishop Anthony Muheria of the Nyeri Catholic Archdiocese, the Council will oversee the resumption of in-person congregational worship and spiritual functions in strict adherence to the containment measures put in place by the government to halt the spread of the Covid-19 in the country.

The members of the Council will include, Rev. (Can.) Rosemary Mbogo, Pastor (Dr.) Samuel Makori, Al Hajj Hassan Ole Naado, Sheikh Sukyan Hassan Omar, Sheikh Abdulatif Abdulkarim, Rev. (Fr.) Joseph Mutie, Bishop (Dr.) David Oginde, Rev. Connie Kivuti, Sujata Kotamraju, Rt. Rev. (Dr.) Samuel Thiong’o Mwangi and Sheikh Ali Saidi Samojah.

Director of Public Health Dr Kepha Ombacho , Head of Public Health Dr Francis Kuria, and Paul Famba will serve as the joint secretaries.

The mandate of the team shall lapse on December 31, 2020, but may be extended at the discretion of President Kenyatta.

Religious organisations had formally written to the Head of State asking for a review of the measures and promising to adhere to the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health.

The government in March suspended all public gatherings, sporting events, open-air religious meetings and all events that are of a huge public nature after the first coronavirus case in the country was confirmed.

The issue of churches reopening is at the forefront of the global battle against Covid-19, especially after what happened in South Korea.

The team is also expected to co-opt any other persons to ensure the agreed general standard operating procedures are cascaded to all faith leaders at the grassroots.