Atheists Society threatens to sue Governor Sakaja over decision to 'save' churches

for Tv47 Digital December 03, 2022, 02:28 AM
Johnson Sakaja and Atheists Society President Harrison Mumia
Nairobi Governor Johnson Sakaja (left) and Atheists In Kenya (AIK) Society Harrison Mumia. AIK wants Sakaja to rescind a gazette notice in which he had banned nightclubs operating in residential areas, and include churches in the ban.

In Summary

  • The Atheists In Kenya (AIK) Society had faulted Governor Johnson Sakaja for focusing only on bars and nightclubs, while "privileging places of worship" which are also sources of noise pollution.
  • "We wrote a letter to the Governor of Nairobi on the 8th of November, 2022 asking him to create an effective complaints department on noise pollution in Nairobi. As a society, we have received numerous complaints about places of worship that are a nuisance to residents of Nairobi due to noise pollution," AIK says.

The Atheists in Kenya (AIK) Society is now threatening to sue Nairobi Governor Johnson Sakaja for privileging places of worship operating in residential areas in the fight against noise pollution.

The society has given Governor Sakaja a seven-day ultimatum to rescind a public notice dated 25th November 2022, in which he had banned nightclubs and wines and spirits joints from operating in residential areas.

On December 1 while commissioning the Green Park Bus Terminus, Sakaja categorically stated that he will not close down churches operating in residential areas, but will instead engage the clergy on a dialogue.

But AIK maintains that Governor Sakaja's decision is discriminatory to the business community who have had to close down their businesses because of the order. The organisation wants churches (places of worship) too to be included in the ban.

The society is basing its argument on Article 27(4) of the Constitution which states;

"The state shall not discriminate directly or indirectly against any person on any ground including race, sex, pregnancy, marital status, health status, ethnic or social origin, colour, age, disability, religion, conscience, belief, culture, dress, language, or birth."

However, Sakaja says that he is not discriminating on anybody, and that the same process that was followed before banning the entertainment joints is the same one they are following on the churches.

"Even with the night clubs; we didn’t start by shutting them down. We spoke to them over time, they agreed to comply but some ignored. Then we took action. We are asking churches and mosques to be considerate, and we will have a discussion with them. There will be order," he says.

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