Atheists in Kenya (AIK) are demanding the removal of the name ‘God’ from the national anthem.
The association which made headlines some months back when it was denied registration, is arguing that having ‘God’ in the anthem does not foster inclusivity, since not all Kenyans believe in a supreme being.
“As non-believers, we feel that the National Anthem is not representative of us, and goes against the spirit of the Kenyan Constitution. Removing ‘God’ from the National Anthem will make it inclusive,” Harrison Mumia, President of Atheists in Kenya, said in a statement to newsrooms.
The association states that Kenya is a secular state and including ‘God’ in the first stanza of the national anthem is a contravention of the constitution.
The line they want rectified in the national anthem states, ”Oh God of All Creation”.
The national anthem is taught to children in all schools in the republic, and is considered a unifying factor. It is also sang by the disciplined forces and in government offices, as well as during public ceremonies.
The atheists believe they are left out as they want to feel proud when singing it like every other Kenyan.
“Atheists want to feel proud when we sing or listen to the national anthem. This pride must arise from a sense of unity with shared values and ideals. The word ‘God’ disenfranchises atheists from this unified ideal,” Mr Mumia stated,
The association posted the petition on social media, and will be presenting it to parliament.
They have also set up an online petition on ipetitions.com
Our National Anthem begins with the words “Oh God of all Creation.” We feel that it is important to reflect the realities of Kenya today in the wording of the National Anthem. Not all Kenyans believe in the existence of a God. Removing ‘God’ from the Kenyan National anthem would make the anthem be inclusive. Kenya is a secular state. By removing ‘God’ from the National Anthem, we will promote secularism in Kenya . This would keep church and state separate in line with Article 8 of the Constitution. This petition will be presented to the Speaker of the National Assembly.”
The petition had received less 100 signatures by the time of this writing.
AIK has meanwhile been running a recruitment drive on Facebook and Whatsapp, urging Kenyans to join the association.