Several churches and mosques closed in the 2018 crackdown over poor standards could miss out on the possible reopening of the worship centres from months of lockdown after attempts to secure clearance became unsuccessful.
The Rwanda Inter-Religious Council indicated that ongoing negotiations with the government exploring possibilities of allowing their members to resume has seen both parties come up with a checklist of key safety steps to undertake prior to reopening.
It is understood that worship facilities would be required to have trained volunteers to enforce mandatory safety procedures, determine the number of services to limit indoor gathering, and have in place modalities of registration of their followers to facilitate contact tracing, among other requirements.
Head of the council Reverend Laurent Mbanda told Rwanda Today the checklist was awaiting final endorsement of the Rwanda Governance Board (RGB), and complying churches get greenlight to reopen.
“It too early to state when, and it is not automatic that all churches will reopen, but at least now there is a lay of hope after our previous meeting with different Government officials,” he said.
However, the going is proving tough for a section of churches and mosques closed two years ago over issues ranging from poor infrastructure and noise pollution, and have since not been able to secure clearance to reopen.