KIGALI, July 27 (Xinhua) -- The Rwandan parliament on Friday passed new legislation aimed to regulate faith-based organizations in the central African country.
The new law requires pastors to have a theology degree before they can start their own churches. It also requires faith-based organizations to declare grants to the regulator, Rwanda Governance Board.
Under the new law, any financial support to a faith-based organization must be channeled through the organization's account in a bank or a financial institution in Rwanda.
The law, which replaces an older one enacted in 2012, will come into force after being assented to by the president. It gives a period of five years for those already in service to acquire qualifications or be kicked out.
The law was drafted by Rwanda Governance Board and submitted to the Rwanda Law Reform Commission last year for scrutiny before being sent to the parliament.
Lawmakers argued that the new legislation will create order and control the mushrooming of churches, some of which are formed by pastors driven by greed.
The passing of the new law comes months after the government closed thousands of churches across the country which authorities said did not comply with building safety standards.
Most of the affected churches belonged to Pentecostal church.
Justus Kangwagye, the head of political parties and civil society department at the Rwanda Governance Board, told the media then that places of worship have to meet basic requirements including safety, hygiene, and infrastructure.
Some Rwandans who talked to Xinhua on Friday said strict measures are necessary.
"Some pastors live off their followers; others enrich themselves using grants meant to support church projects because there is no accountability," said Clarisse Mukasine, a follower of a Pentecostal church. Enditem