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Kenya: Politicians using churches as political battleground to bypass rally ban

By Jeff Otieno
Posted on Tuesday, 14 September 2021 18:12, updated on Thursday, 16 September 2021 09:20

Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, and Raila Odinga pose for a photograph after a ceremony at the All Saints Anglican Church in Nairobi, Kenya November 5, 2017. REUTERS/Baz Ratner

After the Kenyan government banned political rallies terming them as Covid-19 super spreaders, the church has now become the new battleground, at times violent, for politicians ahead of the 2022 polls.

A small church in a sleepy village in central Kenya recently became a battleground between two rival political groups leaving worshippers with serious injuries.

The 5 September incident occurred after a disagreement between supporters of President Uhuru Kenyatta and those of his estranged deputy, William Ruto, who had gathered to worship inside the iron sheet structure that measures no more than 100 square feet. Earlier, two other churches had turned down requests to host the deputy president for a service, ostensibly for fear of violence.