, NAIROBI, Kenya Nov 20 – The Inter-religious Council of Kenya has voiced opposition to the proposed amendments to the Public Benefits Organisations Act saying that it will affect the management of schools and hospitals that are supported by religious groups.
Swaran Varma, Chairman of the National Hindu Council says that the proposed law which seeks to cap foreign funding for NGOs will also affect the fight against HIV.
“Faith based organisations meet majority of the health needs of many Kenyans and much of this funding is from external foundations without which we shall be forced to close down.”
“Further, over 40 percent of people living with HIV access treatment through the churches,” said Varma.
Joy Mdivo of the Evangelical Alliance of Kenya explained that, “faith based institutions significantly contribute to the development of the education sector.”
“This is only possible through the external mission support and by accepting these amendments you shall be accepting the deterioration of the education sector and the evils that accompany illiteracy, ignorance and poverty,” said Mdivo.
The religious leaders added that there will be a great rise in the numbers of unemployed people with the implementation of the Bill as the donor funding creates job opportunities for a large population in the country.
Speaking after a closed door deliberation the leaders told press that they would pass their amendments to Parliament for consideration as they deliberate on the Bill before it is enacted into a law.
Mike Mutungi the Chief Executive Officer of I Choose Life Africa explained that the current Bill as it is will risk the promptness of health services delivery.
He further urged the government not to work against their own manifesto as saying that the Bill revokes all the promises that they made.
“Fourteen million youth may have higher HIV prevalence rates and increased drugs and substance abuse as a result in reduction of the funding,” he said.
The controversial sections are contained in the Statute Law (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill, 2013 as amendments to The Public Benefits Organisations Act, 2013 (No. 18 of 2013).
Section 27 A (2) states: “A public benefit organization shall not receive more than 15 percent of its total funding from external donors.”
On the other hand, section 27A. (1) states: “Any funding of a public benefit organization shall be made through the federation and not by an individual members’ organization.