Recent Kenyan news cycles have been dominated by tales of charlatans, their shameless cons and the people that place their trust in the dubious promises offered. Duping Kenyans has become such a profitable business venture that the government has been forced to sit up and pay attention, making efforts to help curb this “entrepreneurship” by increasing entry barriers. State House recently announced that Attorney General Githu Muigai has drawn up drafts of regulations aimed at registering and helping to manage churches and mosques. This is in a bid to provide a vetting service that will catch and deter potential fraudsters out to mint profits using religious institutions as a cover. Churches, mosques and temples would therefore need to meet conditions stipulated by the proposed amendments to the Societies Act to qualify to operate.
This announcement has of course received mixed reactions, with religious leaders decrying the move as an attempt for the state to control their operations, in direct violation of the freedom to worship granted under the constitution.This comes in the wake of the expose on questionable churches and their leaders which you have no doubt re-watched at work over your lunch break. One of the breakout “stars”, self-proclaimed prophet Kanyari has become the symbol of the greed that currently plagues the church institution. False testimonies, brazen misuse of tithes and the dramatic “healings” would all make an excellent feature film, but remain a shameful representation of how far modern ‘morality’ has fallen when put in the context of the church.
Taking advantage of the average Kenyan’s faith has not remained a preserve of unscrupulous religious leaders: while a sign promising to cure you of everything under the sun or help you find your soulmate through a “Mganga” (witchdoctor) may seem laughable now, but to those with no other option, any possible lifeline must be explored. The Daily Nation recently ran a tragic article featuring the heartbreaking story of a Kenyan woman diagnosed with cancer for whom simple treatment would have almost guaranteed a full recovery. Fearing surgery, said lady opted for a fraudulent ‘herbal practitioner’, the likes of which we see and hear advertised in mainstream media every other day. xxxx millions later, the cancer metastasized beyond the point of being treatable, with the unfortunate lady losing the battle shortly after. Medical fraudsters, unlike their religious counterparts, often have the power to cause more direct harm with immediate and far reaching consequences as they operate unchecked behind the banner of ‘traditional medicine’. If there was a way to regulate this industry, would you endorse it?
From West African ‘doctors’ prescribing salt water as a curative and preventative measure against Ebola to our own local forgery experts cranking out electronics destined to spontaneously catch fire as you sleep due to faulty parts, con artists have become a pervasive force moreso on the African landscape. Until the necessary legislations can be laid down to help take such characters out of the game, it is upon us as legitimate business owners and employees to distinguish ourselves from the substandard in the industry. Measures such as ISO certification, quality of service and maintaining positive reviews from our past customers can help our new customers build up their faith in us and our services.
As we wait for the proposed regulations to be reviewed by a special task force that will decide on their implimentation, feel free to let us know what helps you gain confidence that a product or business is the real thing; or what you as a business can do to reassure customers that you are genuine. Have an authentic week, won’t you?