Members of a religious sect in central Kenya are bracing themselves for a nuclear war predicted to take place no later than 12 September 2006.
This is the doomsday warning issued by their spiritual leader Yisrayl Hawkins, who is based in the United States and traces his origins back to Israel.
Kenyan followers of the House of Yahweh are taking his words seriously and have begun building special shelters to protect themselves.
Yleasor Kamothom, who has been a member of the sect in Kinagop since it was introduced in Kenya in 1997, explains that the prophecy will bring a great deal of destruction.
“It says that there will be three and a half years of great tribulation. These great tribulations will come because of people are not heeding and fulfilling Yahweh’s laws,” he says.
According to a monthly newsletter, through which the message was relayed, House of Yahweh followers have been given advice to help them survive a doomsday scenario.
“These nuclear fallouts destroy people’s lives. But we are told to eat properly so as to not endanger ourselves. We’re informed to build our houses into a place where we can have shelter,” says Mr Kamothom.
The kind of shelter suggested is similar to a bunker in which they will be able to hide.
Although Mr Kamothom has not started his preparations for the so-called doomsday, he admits that his other religious brethren have done so.
One true faith
As I talked to him and other sect members, they quoted different verses in their holy book, called the Book of Yahweh, to back their doomsday claims, including these excerpts from Isaiah 24 v 1-6:
” Behold, Yahweh makes the earth empty, makes it waste, turns it upside down, and scatters its inhabitants.
The earth will be utterly emptied and utterly laid waste; for Yahweh has spoken this word.
Therefore the curse has devoured the earth, and those who dwell therein are found guilty. Therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men left .”
The House of Yahweh believes it is the one true faith which will be re-established in what it terms “the last days”.
The sect members refer to their creator as Yahweh, not God, and the male followers all sport long goatee beards.
“We do not shave our beard completely or our head completely because there is a law in the 613 laws which states that a man should not shave completely his head or completely his beard,” explains sect member Dominc Karichu.
“We want to follow each and every word that proceeds from Yahweh’s mouth.”
House of Yahweh is the latest, but intriguing, sect to have emerged onto Kenya’s packed religious scene, where more than 100 groups are now registered by the Kenyan government.
Six years ago, neighbouring Ugandans were shocked by a tragic end to a doomsday prediction.
After the world failed to end in December 1999, as predicted by the Movement for the Restoration of the Ten Commandments of God, hundreds of the sect’s followers were found murdered four months later.
Many Kenyans are concerned that should this prophecy prove untrue, its fallout will not prove as fatal.
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