Atheists in Kenya Society (AIK) have vowed to challenge the suspension of the association by the Office of the Attorney General.
The society says they received a letter through the Deputy Registrar Mrs. Muluku Kariuku informing them about the suspension on Friday, June 10.
AIK says the letter dated April 29, 2016 was sent to them through postal mail, and that the action was done in bad faith as seven days (from April 29) that allowed the society to appeal the decision had already elapsed.
“Why was the letter not emailed to us? Why didn’t the registrar call us to collect the letter physically from her office? We are left asking a lot of questions. Did they want the seven days to lapse, as indicated in the letter, so that we are eventually suspended?” posed Harrison Mumia, the president of AIK, in a letter obtained by eDaily.
“Let it be clear that the office of the registrar has all the contacts of the officials of AIK in their files, and our email address and mobile numbers are available on our website. Nobody from the Attorney General’s office has contacted any official of AIK, prior to this suspension,” adds Mr Mumia.
AIK says the Attorney General’s decision to suspend the society has been influenced by pressures from religious groups – and that the decision “infringes on our fundamental freedoms and rights, in particular the freedom of association.”
“It is unfortunate that the Attorney General has yielded to the calls by the religious groups to have the atheists in Kenya Society suspended. This decision goes against the principles of natural justice,” says AIK, adding: “This decision offends Article 8 of the Constitution. The state must not be pushed by any religious groups when it comes to matters of making decisions.”
AIK says Office of the AG has not heard their side, and has treated them with discrimination.
“The Office of the Attorney General has not given us a hearing on this matter. We have been judged and prosecuted without being given a hearing. We feel discriminated upon. Every Kenyan has a right to administrative action that is expeditious, efficient, lawful, reasonable and procedurally fair.”
Mr Mumia says according to the AG, AIK has participated or planned to participate in activities that are against social and religious norms – hence the decision to suspend them.
“The attorney general has indicated that we have made pronouncements that have generated great public concern which is prejudicial and incompatible with the peace, stability and good order of the Republic of Kenya. We have not been told which specific pronouncements these are, and how they are incompatible with peace and stability of our beloved country.
“In fact, all our statements have only generated public debate on certain issues, and public debate is good for the country. We cannot grow as a country, politically and socially if we cannot continuously subject key issues to debate.”
Mr Mumia maintains AIK members are equally law-abiding citizens and should be accorded freedom of association; failure to which they will challenge Office of the Attorney General in court.
“We shall therefore be moving to court in the shortest time possible to ask the courts to quash this suspension until the matter is heard inter parte.”
The Office of the Attorney General is yet to write a rejoinder to AIK.