Should churches in Kenya pay tax? This is a subject that often elicits mixed reactions whenever it is brought up. Some people feel that churches should pay tax while some think, it will be ‘sinful’ to tax churches.
Stats show that Kenya has over 4,000 registered churches that have branches all over the country with thousands of others unregistered. There are some places in Kenya where churches are more than schools. Churches in Kenya are so many that they can accommodate every poor soul.
Majority of churches in Kenya are not ‘churches’ but business entities. PLO Lumumba calls them pyramid schemes where the so-called pastors use to enrich themselves at the expense of their gullible, ignorant and poor congregants.
Most churches in Kenya are run by family members where you get a husband is a bishop, wife a pastor, a daughter a secretary and another relative an accountant or treasurer. Before I move deeper into whether churches should pay taxes or not, allow me to quote the Bible. (Am not going to preach though)
In the book of Matthew Chapter 22 from verse 15 to 22, some Pharisees wanted to test Jesus. They went to him and asked him whether it was right for them to continue paying taxes to the Roman Empire. Jesus asked them to bring a coin that they use to pay taxes. He asked them, “Whose image is this?” “Caesar’s,” they replied. Jesus then told them, “So, give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.” I will leave this preaching here.
A German philosopher and economist Karl Marx once said that “Religion is the opium of the masses, the exploiter of the proletariat and the maintainer of the status quo.” The words of Karl Marx are clearly reflected in the church business in Kenya.
In Kenya, the easiest and shortest way to instant riches is to set up a church, threaten people with hellfire and hailstones and you will have them trooping at the ‘holy altar’ with cash and ‘presents’ including tithes that are supposedly given to God himself.
There are Men of the Cloth in Kenya who have become overnight millionaires after setting up a ‘successful church.’ They are all over our television screens and radios, driving top of the range vehicles and wooing thousands with fake miracles and false promises of successes. There are even some, like the famous or infamous Dr. Owuor who have a fleet of lead and chase cars with a set of armed guards. They are like small gods who thrive on the poverty of millions.
There is even one ‘Man of God’ who is rumored to have purchased a private jet and has a fleet of expensive cars as well as property in almost every urban center in Kenya. Someone said that Jesus fed 5,000 people with loaves and fish but in Kenya and other parts nowadays, 5,000 poor congregants feed a lazy but rich pastor who thrives on their ignorance.
Now, back to the issue of taxes. Should these churches pay tax? The answer is yes. These ‘business entities’ should pay tax. The fact is that church has lost meaning in Kenya and its only relevance is that it gives the poor the hope of seeing tomorrow on an empty stomach and assures the rich that they will surely pass through the hole of the needle.
There are churches in Kenya that receive millions of shillings every Sunday that are channeled directly to the accounts of their owners. The truth of the matter is that all these monies are tax-free. What if the government puts in place mechanisms that will make sure that these people pay tax? Instead of the government overburdening the poor population with taxes, it can scoop some good money from these individuals.