Kenyans praying for quiet

Town bans evangelicals from public gardens to stop them disturbing the peace.

    Kenya's constitution allows for freedom of worship
    The community of Eldoret in western Kenya is largely Christian and welcomes the word of the Lord.

    But Gladys Njoroge travelled to the Rift Valley town and found that many people were finding the message defeaning.

    Evangelical churches are increasingly popular in Kenya. In a football field in Elderot, a town of 200,000 people, several thousand men, women and children gathered to listen to a well-known preacher.

    The country's constitution allows for freedom of worship but does not mention the volume and across the road from one church the noise is all becoming too much for the shop owners.

    "It's so noisy, at daytime it's too much, it starts at lunchtime it is too much," one woman told Al Jazeera.

    Praying for quiet
    Watch Gladys Njoroge's report from Eldoret's evangelical community
    But David Ochieng, an evangelist from the church, said: " Whether you call it noise, whether you call it by another name, the word of God must be preached."

    The council has banned the churches from performing ceremonies in the town's public gardens to stop them from disturbing the local residents.

    "All we are saying is restrict the noise, use the loudspeakers but don't be a nuisance to your neighbour," Richard Chepkonga, the Eldoret town clerk, told Al Jazeera.

    I went to meet Pastor Million Gonttie in the Winners Chapel Church and as he strained to hear my questions I asked him if he thought his church was too loud.

    "Not loud really, I don't consider it too be loud," he said, shouting over the music.

    Many people feel the message booming through the loudspeakers is relevant to their everyday lives and it draws the masses to the ever growing churches.

    It is unclear how strictly the town council will enforce the new rules but with other more pressing priorities digruntled residents feel they may have to say their own prayers for a little peace and quiet.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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