Kenya Muslim leaders back draft law

April 10, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 10 – Muslim leaders have expressed support for the draft Constitution saying that it is better than the current document.

The Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims (SUPKEM) Secretary General Adan Wachu said on Saturday that while it was not perfect, it reflected the views of a majority of Kenyans.

He called upon both religious and political leaders to come together and vote YES in the upcoming referendum in June.

“We Muslim leaders are prepared to support and will vote YES to ensure that the proposed constitution of Kenya succeeds,” Mr Wachu said.

“We extend the hand of unity for all our non-Muslim brothers and sisters and urge them to join us,” he appealed.

He urged those who were resisting the passing of the draft law to put the interests of Kenyans ahead of their own.

“In that regard, we call upon all leaders from across the great divide to desist and tone down their hard position and embrace the wider picture of preserving our unity and call upon them to also support the national cohesion that will build a firm foundation for the country,” he stated.

Meanwhile, the Muslim leaders said that they bore no hard feelings against their Christian counterparts who were opposed to the issue of the Kadhi’s courts.

National Muslim Leaders Forum (NAMLEF) chairman Sheikh Abdullahi Abdi pointed out that it is within their democratic right to have their own opinion.

He however urged them to widen their scope of vision since the advantages of the Constitution far outweigh its shortcomings.

“We do not have any hatred or bitterness towards the section of the clergy that stood very strongly against the Kadhi’s courts. It is their rights as Kenyans to express their views,” he stated.

“Probably, they would have done so in a polite manner befitting religious leaders but we just have to forgive them and live with them as citizens of this country,” he added.

He stressed that no divisions existed among the Muslims with regard to the draft law.

“A number of those people who issued those statements were with us this morning and they have changed their positions with regard to the position taken by Muslims,” he stated.

“It is the position of Muslims that if the majority of the Kenyan Muslims decide, they will abide by that,” he said.

“However, if there are a few dissenting voices, that is part of the democracy which is a cost which we have to pay.”

Speaking in Eldoret, Prime Minister Raila Odinga said that politicians advocating for the rejection of the draft constitution were not genuine in their concerns. The Premier stated that this fact is shown by the way legislators were raising issues with only three clauses of a total of 263 others.

He accused those advocating for a NO vote in the upcoming referendum were doing so only out of their own selfish interests.

Changamwe Member of Parliament Ramadhan Kajembe also urged the church leaders to stop misleading Kenyans on the Constitution making process.

He stated constitutional making was an electoral process and not a religious process and that they should instead focus on properly guiding their followers on right choices.

The Shirikisho Party of Kenya on the other hand has resolved to oppose the Constitution draft once it is subjected to referendum.

Party\’s Chairperson Linah Mkasi said that the proposed draft retained the unitary system of government against the popular wishes of the people who advocated for devolution of power to the regions.

She stated that the draft has disregarded the wishes that people should manage land at the regional level and not through the National Land Commission.

She called on Kenyans who were pro-reform to say No to the draft law.


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