In a bid to control unnecessary noise, the government of Rwanda has shut down a total number of 700 churches for causing noise pollution and also for their failure to comply with building regulations.

Pentecostal churches

The crackdown is being carried out by respective urban district authorities in partnership with the Rwanda Governance Board.

According to Justus Kangwagye, the head of political parties and civil society department, places of worship are required to meet basic requirements in terms of safety, hygiene, infrastructure and legality which those affected were found to be lacking.

“Worshiping should be done in an organised way and meet minimum standards. Exercising your freedom of worship should not encroach on other people’s rights.  They have been asked to halt operations until they meet the requirements,” Kangwagye told local media on Monday.

However, a government official told the BBC that some of the churches which were shut down have reopened after they were approved by inspectors. He said most of them were Pentecostal churches and one mosque which also got shut.

Pentecostal churches are often run by charismatic preachers who claim to be able to perform miracles and have rapidly grown in most parts of the African continent these recent years.

The proposed new law in Rwanda states that all preachers must have the ological training before opening a church.

 

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ZIMENE MUMAKONDA

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