The Ministry of Sports, Culture and Heritage has proposed a new regulation that will see churches in Kenya required to sing at least 75% local songs.
In an attempt to bring order and sanity in how singing is done in churches, as well as promoting local talents, churches will be required to adhere to the new guideline with those who fail to follow the guidelines facing deregistration or temporary suspension.
“The government is concerned that churches are increasingly singing foreign songs, leaving our locally produced songs to gather dust in the vestries. We need to support local talents and this is why we need to have churches doing at least 75% local songs. This is something we have attained in broadcast media and we can do it in churches.”
The new directive follows complains from various Christians who have complained that they have been forced to sing foreign song at the expense of good local songs. “There is a cartel that is called the worship team and they always force us to sing Nigerian songs. When you think that you have sung too much they switch to South African songs. That should not be the case. We can’t continue to sing foreign songs. I wonder if they sing Kenyan songs in Nigerian churches.”
Similar sentiments were also echoed by members of the mainstream churches, some of which are notorious for only singing hymns that were written in 1240 BC in medieval Europe. “Why can’t we just get some drums and sing songs by Reuben Kigame?” Asked one distraught Anglican.
How this will be enforced is not clear, but churches will be expected to self-assess and report themselves if they do not comply. Gospel musicians who welcomed the directive are also expected to hep in monitoring.