Religious Sect Members jailed for obstructing census exercise

by Mahakamani News
Members of the Kabonokia religious sect in a recent activity

News received from Marimanti Law Courts in Tharaka Nithi county is that 46 members of the Kabonokia religious sect have been sentenced to jail for a period of six months to one year for the offence of refusing to participate in the recently concluded census exercise. Four members from the sect had previously been acquitted after pleading guilty to the charges and henceforth accepting to be enlisted.

The facts of the case is that a section of members from Kabonokia sect refused to give data to the census enumerators. They claimed that participating in the census exercise is ‘satanic’ and adversarial to their religious doctrines which forbid them from engaging in earthly activities. Another section from the sect failed to give information for enumeration due to lack of valid national identitification cards.

Out of the 46 people jailed, Senior Resident Magistrate Stephen Nyaga imprisoned two of them for a period of one year or alternatively a fine of Ksh. 200,000. Of the 12 months, six months would be served for declining to be counted whereas the other six for lack of national identity cards.

Among the remaining 44 people, 25 women and 17 men were sentenced to six months in prison or alternatively a fine of Ksh. 100,000 for declining to give certain details i.e. enumeration.

The other two people were imprisoned for eight months for failing to be counted and declining to have their finger prints taken by the police.

Right of appeal was also issued.

Although the Constitution in Article 32(4) directs that a person should not be compelled to act, or engage in any act, that is contrary to the person’s belief or religion, the magistrate in Marimanti Law court still imprisoned the people as the recent Statistics Acts Amendment 2019 did not have provisions that make the census exercise voluntary.

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