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Tent of the Living God

Sect Denies It Plans Forced Circumcision
Members of the controversial Tent of the Living God sect have denied claims that they plan to circumcise women by force, terming the allegations malicious. At the same time, hundreds of the sect members gathered for worship at Nairobi’s Kariokor roundabout in the absence of their spiritual leader, Mr. Ngonya wa Gakonya, who along with 38 sect members, is in police custody after being charged with holding an illegal meeting. [csr 1.2 2002]

Last month, handwritten leaflets alleged to have been authored by the sect were circulated in parts of Kiambaa and Kikuyu divisions of Kiambu, warning women aged between 13 and 65 years to undergo the rite or be forcibly circumcised. But a sect representative said that despite their stand on the issue, female genital mutilation remained a women’s affair, and men in the sect had nothing to do with it. “The government has enough security machinery to investigate such claims,” he said. “All we want is our freedom to worship which is guaranteed all Kenyans,” he told the Nation. [csr 1.2 2002]

The sect requires its members to worship the traditional God of the Gikuyu and to perform religious rituals. Tent of The Living God followers also distanced themselves from the controversial Mungiki sect, saying that the two were only similar in their religious regalia and certain other characteristics. (Wahome Thuku, Daily Nation, Internet, 5/6/02) [csr 1.2 2002]