Over 6,000 Churches Awaiting Registration

Nairobi, Kenya - The Registrar General is overwhelmed by increasing demand for the registration of churches.

Attorney General, Mr Amos Wako, says the department is facing difficulties in processing 6,740 pending applications by various religious groupings.

Speaking at Safari Park Hotel in Nairobi during a workshop for church leaders, Wako said about 60 applications are filed every month.

Already, there are 8, 520 registered churches, he added.

The AG cautioned that some of the groups masquerading as churches were illegal outfits established to cash in on freely flowing money in the evangelical world.

"There is an astronomical increase in the application for the registration of religious societies, some of them turning out to be either wolves and sheepish or formed purely for financial gain, and take advantage of the unsuspecting public," Wako said.

The AG blamed the influx on unscrupulous evangelists who hatched "get-rich-quick" schemes in the name of preaching the gospel.

Wako said the department-lacked capacity to vet the enormous applications. "The system seems to have broken down and cannot handle the avalanche of applications properly," he said.

The Registrar General, Ms Lucy Waithaka, concurred with the AG, saying: "One major weakness is that vetting through informal consultation was never structured."

She added that a temporary embargo on registration of new church societies had caused an increasing backlog.

Presenting a paper titled 'Impacts of Unregulated Growth of Churches', Prof G Ogutu lamented that evangelism had been turned into big business. He called for stiffer vetting mechanisms to ensure only genuine religious organisations operate.

"Whence cometh this spiritual plague of so many churches registered in the country? Something unconstitutional and spiritually criminal is going on here," he said.

The consultative forum between the Government and church societies is aimed at finding ways to streamline the registration of religious bodies and hopes to come up with clear guidelines on the process.