Atheists challenge public holiday declaration


Kenyan atheists have moved to court in a bid to challenge the government’s declaration of Thursday as a national holiday terming the move as unconstitutional.

The president of the Atheists in Kenya, Harrison Mumia, has filed a case in the High Court seeking to have the gazette notice issued declaring November 26, 2015 a public holiday nullified.

President Uhuru Kenyatta on Tuesday declared the day a public holiday and national day of prayer and reflection ahead of Pope Francis’ visit.

Speaking exclusively to the Nation, Mr Mumia said that the move by the government contravenes Articles 8, 9 and 32 of the Kenyan Constitution.

The organisation has accused the government of portraying the country as a Christian state.

“The Constitution clearly states that there shall be no state religion. We cannot have the government look like it is siding with one religion,” Mr Mumia said.

He argued that the constitution clearly states that a person shall not be compelled to act, or engage in any act that is deemed contrary to one’s belief or religion.

The atheists further argued that the holiday will have a negative impact on the economy through lost revenue as a result of few businesses being open on that day.

“We trust in the judicial system and hope that the law will be duly followed. We hope Kenyans will resume their normal duties come Thursday,” said Mr Mumia.

The organisation was expected to present the petition on Wednesday, November 25, 2015 at 11am at the Nairobi Milimani Law Courts.