All around the world, Atheists and non-religious people face increasing number of risks every day for holding opinions that distances itself from beliefs in God or some form of higher power. Criticizing religion has recently shown to be one sure way of putting one’s self in danger. The case of Mubarak Bala being charged in Nigeria for disturbing public peace over alleged blasphemous remarks made, or the attack on Salman Rushdie in New York for his 1988 book and the recent bogus charge of terrorism on Haiballah Okboui are all clear instances of the ridiculous steps religious people take to silence and intimidate atheists and secularists. This intimidation can be physical, legal or both.
Sometime in September 2022, a suit seeking to deregister the Atheists in Kenya Society was filed at the Constitutional and Human Rights Court in Nairobi – Kenya by one Dr. Stephen Ndicho, a former member of parliament and an influential Christian in the country. The suit lists, among others, the Registrar of Societies Kenya and his deputy, Atheists in Kenya Society and the Attorney General of Kenya as its respondents.
In the suit, the petitioner contends that the very existence of Atheists in Kenya Society as a body corporate violates the Preamble (which acknowledges the supremacy of God of all creations) and Article 8 of the Constitution of Kenya which states that there shall be no state religion. The petitioner further contends that religion enriches the laws of Kenya for the common good, that posts from the social media accounts of the Atheists in Kenya Society are cynical, with adverse effects on the People of Kenya and that it undermines the beliefs of the Kenyan people which constitutes a violation of the rule of law.
It is argued by Atheists in Kenya Society that Article 32(1) of the Kenyan Constitution grants the rights to Freedom of conscience, religion and opinion which can be enjoyed alone or in concert with others.
In response, the Atheists in Kenya Society has further argued that the suit is frivolous, vexatious and without merit in that the petitioner misconceived parts of the constitution (particularly Article 8) and that the preamble does not form an actionable part of the Kenyan constitution because it does not convey any right capable of enforcement or if violated, capable of redress. Also, there is no known data which suggests or indicates that posts from social media accounts of Atheists in Kenya Society has adverse or cynical effects on the Kenyan people.
The Atheists in Kenya Society was established about six years ago by the current President, Mr Harrison Mumia, together with Ssemakula Mukiibi, Zack Wanambwa and others with the objective to promote skeptical inquiry, provide a community for atheists, promote scientific examination of the universe and to foster public acceptance of atheists.
In 2015, its founding members applied for registration which was rejected by the then Deputy Registrar of Societies in Kenya. By January of the following year, the registrar gave reasons stating that “The interests of peace and welfare or good order in Kenya would be likely to suffer prejudice by registering Atheists in Kenya Society”. However, with persistent pressure and the possibility of lawsuit ensuing, the society was registered on the 17th of February, 2016. The registration did not last long before being suspended by the Attorney General in April of 2016, citing complaints from religious groups. However, following a suit filed by the President of the Atheists in Kenya Society, it was reinstated in 2018 through an order of court.
In 2020, the Atheists in Kenya Society wrote to the Kenya Revenue Authority demanding that churches pay tax to the state in that the classification of churches as non-profit organizations is unjustifiable.
In 2022 Atheists in Kenya Society proposed to the chairperson Presidential Working Committee on education reform a proposal to have religious education substituted for philosophy and ethics in Kenyan schools.
Atheists in Kenya Society is an affiliate of the Atheist Alliance International.