The National Council of Churches of Kenya has called on the National Assembly to amend sections of the Children Bill (National Assembly Bill No 38 of 2021) that would make responsible parenting nigh impossible.
Through a Memorandum presented to the Departmental Committee on Labour and Social Welfare, the NCCK pointed out provisions that would stop parents disciplining their children, or providing them with religious guidance. Specifically, the NCCK noted that provisions on religious guidance in the Bill would allow children to overrun parental guidance, thereby threatening family cohesion.
In addition, the NCCK is opposed to provision of reproductive health services and information to children in contravention of Article 11 of the Constitution of Kenya. It is noteworthy that the generalities of the provisions in the Bill would allow children to access reproductive health services and information without parental supervision or knowledge, further negating parental responsibility.
The NCCK General Secretary said in a statement, “Scientific evidence shows that long term use of family planning methods has negative effects on the reproductive health of humans, and would be devastating on the children.” Rev Canon Chris Kinyanjui
Further to these, the NCCK called for the deletion of the provision that criminalizes circumcision of male children, noting that male circumcision is scientifically proven to be medically beneficial. Parents and medical workers would therefore be jailed for actions meant to protect the health of their children.
The Memorandum by NCCK noted that the character of the nation is shaped by the character of its children, who are formed in the family and society setting. The law should therefore support parenting, not make it difficult. This parental responsibility is summarized in Ephesians 6: 1 – 4
“Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother – with is the first commandment with a promise – that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth. Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring the up in the training and instruction of the Lord.”
The Memorandum submitted by the NCCK to the National Assembly is available on www.ncck.org