Today, 17th February 2022, we celebrate SIX (6) years since the Atheists In Kenya Society was registered.
It is an honor to serve as the Atheists In Kenya Society President since it was registered in February, 17th 2016. I and the current Executive Committee, consisting Moureen Temba (Vice President, Mary Kamau (Secretary), Samson Mbavu (Treasurer), and Rebecca Sarange (Assistant Treasurer) appreciate the support that we have received from the members of the society.
I’m committed to working with the Executive Committee and all the members to raise the profile of the society and to promote the growth and interaction of atheists in Kenya.
Atheists (those who do not believe in any god), and humanists (those who embrace a morality centered on human welfare and human flourishing that does not appeal to any supernatural or divine entities), and others who consider themselves non-religious, constitute a growing population in Kenya. The 2017 national census revealed that atheists make up 1.5% of Kenya’s population.
Article 32 of the Kenyan Constitution States:
(1) Every person has the right to freedom of conscience, religion, thought, belief and opinion.
(2) Every person has the right, either individually or in community with others, in public or in private, to manifest any religion or belief through worship, practice, teaching or observance, including observance of a day of worship.
(3) A person may not be denied access to any institution, employment or facility, or the enjoyment of any right, because of the person’s belief or religion.
(4) A person shall not be compelled to act, or engage in any act, that is contrary to the person’s belief or religion.
This Article is simple but powerful.
Just as freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief protects the right of the individual to follow a religion, it also protects the right to reject any religion or belief, to identify as a humanist or atheist, and to manifest non-religious convictions through expression, teaching, and practice. Thus, it is not necessary to describe atheism as a religion, or as analogous to religion, to guarantee atheists the same protection as religious believers. On the contrary, atheism and theism are protected equally as manifestations of the fundamental right to freedom of thought, conscience, religion, or belief.
Religious believers and non-believers are equal in human rights because they are all human, irrespective of their religion or beliefs. Just as the profession of religion is protected as a manifestation of belief and conscience, so is the atheist’s criticism of religious beliefs and practices. Just as speaking in support of one’s religious convictions and moral values can be of fundamental meaning and importance to the individual, so can advocating core humanist values of democracy, freedom, rationalism, or campaigning for human rights, equality, and the principles of secularism.
Article 32 protects atheists’ right to be atheists and to manifest their atheist beliefs, and non-beliefs, in public as well as in private, in teaching as well as in practice. The right to freedom of religion or belief is therefore central to our examination of the status of atheists and other non-religious people in Kenya.
We currently have 65 registered members. Our focus this year will be to grow our membership and raise awareness of atheism in Kenya. We will also push for reforms in religious education in Kenya , as well as secularism.
I would like to thank those who have paid their annual membership fee. Membership is the key pillar for the continued growth of the society.
Harrison Mumia, President