President William Ruto has instituted a 17-member taskforce to review legal and regulatory frameworks governing religious organizations in Kenya.

In a gazette notice dated May 5, President Ruto announced that Reverend Mutava Musyimi will chair the committee which will be operational for the next six months.

Bishop Mark Kariuki, Bishop (Dr.) Eli Rop, Archbishop Maurice Muhatia, Judy Thongori, Rev (Dr.) Alphonse Kanga, Bishop Philip Kitoto and Dr. Faridun Abdalla will sit on the committee as members.

They will be joined by Prof. Musili Wambua, Joseph Khalende Wabwire, Mary Awuor Kitegi, Charles Kanjama, Leah Kasera, Nancy Murega and Wilson Wanyanga.

Martin Ndiwa Talian and Maria Goretti Nyariki will serve as the taskforce’s joint secretaries.

The President added that the taskforce’s main responsibilities will include identifying gaps that have allowed extremist religious organisations to set up shop in Kenya, as well as formulate a legal framework preventing radical religious entities from operating locally.

It will also formulate proposals on amendments to various laws so as to enable the State to effectively tackle religious cults.

The taskforce will also table proposals on civic education to sensitize Kenyans on the need to avoid religious cults.

“The taskforce shall formulate proposals for a mechanism for the public to report religious extremists in their local communities and also come up with standards and minimum certification requirements for religious organisations to be registered and to operate in Kenya,” the Head of State said in the notice.

The committee will also be required to recommend actions that the State may take against individuals and organisations suspected of engaging in extremist religious practices.

By Fred Odanga.