There has been an ongoing debate amongst Kenyans regarding the registration of the Atheist society in Kenya. Atheists are simply a group of people mostly science scholars who believe there is no GOD but believe in science instead.
The debate was provoked by an event poster doing rounds on social media. The poster announced the very first ever Atheist party to go down at Gravity Lounge Kimathi street in a bid to celebrate their successful registration (which was suspended though).
Both political and religious leaders (Muslims and Christians) have however shown dissatisfaction if the group will be allowed to operate in Kenya,suggesting that their existence can challenge peace and invoke war among Kenyans.
A number of vocal Kenyans have also aired their opinions in this regard,the latest being Larry Madowo.
Larry suggests that the group should be left alone provided they do no harm to anyone. He further goes ahead to say,there might no be God sending social media to a frenzy.
“There is probably no God. Look, hear me out before you order me burned at the stake. Most people, including myself, still live as if there were a God anyway, in the hope of finding a version of paradise in the afterlife. I was raised Catholic, flirted with agnosticism in my late teens before settling for a new-fangled brand of Christianity that my father’s mother still considers a passing cloud. It has been a decade. I identify as a born-again Christian and often draw curious stares whenever I say that, but that’s a tale for another day.
With that background out of the way, it is time to focus attention to the Atheists in Kenya Society, which is struggling to gain legitimacy. When they applied for registration, Principal State Counsel Maria Nyariki denied it on January 14, 2016.
“The Registrar has reasonable cause to believe that the interests of peace, welfare or good order in Kenya would be likely to suffer prejudice by reason of your registration as a society,” she informed them.
They appealed and got their way a month later. Christians were outraged. So were Muslims. Other religions, too, but these two were very vocal about their opposition to the very existence of this group of people who profess no faith.
“Purporting to register it was offensive to the Constitution,” former Kiambu MP Stephen Ndicho told me on Sunday. He is now the vocal Vice-Chairman of the Kenya National Congress of Pentecostal Churches. He’s referring to the preamble of the constitution: “We, the people of Kenya … acknowledging the supremacy of the Almighty God of all creation…”
The founder and president of Atheists in Kenya, Harrison Mumia, demurs, pointing to Section 8 of the same Constitution: “There shall be no State religion.” He’s not only atheist but an anti-theist who seems to particularly enjoy antagonising the mainstream religions and knocking down their beliefs. He and his 100 or so members set up a party, “Without God”, to celebrate their registration but word of their suspension came before the celebration.
“Following receipt of representations made to the State Law Office by various religious and other organisations regarding the registration of the Atheist Society of Kenya, the Attorney-General has directed the Registrar of Societies to suspend, with immediate effect, the said registration under Section 12(1)(b) of the Societies Act until the propriety, legality and constitutionality of the registration is determined by the Supreme Court,” a statement said.
The atheists still went ahead and partied anyway, according to Mumia. A grand total of seven people showed up, if you go by the single picture posted on the society’s social media pages.
“Our people have no concept of there being no God, maybe they believe in idolatry,” said Abdulrahman Wandati of the Muslim Consultative Council. He and Mumia are both from the Luhya community and he jokingly pointed out that they could even be related. One is a prominent Muslim scholar, the other a religion-baiting unbeliever.
Legal experts say the Attorney-General suspended the freethinkers society without following due procedure. “I agree with Harrison Mumia to the extent that the Societies Act requires a reason to be given before suspending,” advocate Charles Kanjama opined. The Christian representative on the panel didn’t see anything amiss and wholeheartedly supported the A-G’s decision. Just days earlier, Ndicho had demanded that Mr Githu Muigai resign for allowing the society to be registered,”wrote down Larry on his Daily Nation column.
What do you think of this group and the debate they have provoked?