The government of Rwanda has closed down a total of 714 churches in different parts of the country’s capital Kigali for failure to meet minimum standards for their operations.
New Times reported that the places of worship for these churches were found to lack basic infrastructure, fell short of hygiene, safety standards and had issues related to their legal status.
The closure of these religious groupings is being undertaken by local authorities in parts of Rwanda.
The Head of Political Parties and Civil Society Department at the Rwanda Governance Board, Justus Kangwagye told the New Times that places of worship for these churches are required to meet basic requirements in terms of safety, hygiene, infrastructure and legality which have not been met.
“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 is quoted as saying.
Kangwagye also said that worshipers had been exposed to risks due to the failure by these churches to comply with best standards.
“For instance, if the infrastructure is deemed likely to cause danger to those worshiping, it is obvious that it fails to meet the requirements,” he said.
Some churches were also closed for not having inadequate parking lots and operating from tents.
Kangwagye said “Churches that are hosted in tents were also asked to review their premises before they can continue their operations. As for hygiene and sanitation, you cannot have a gathering where there is no water for washing hands, no toilets among other issues.”.
Many African countries have struggled to contain the activities of churches that continue to fast spread across their cities.