Kenyan Muslims irked by Kadhis Courts ruling

May 25, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, May 25 – Muslim leaders have taken issue with the ruling made by the High Court on Monday declaring Kadhis Courts unconstitutional, saying it was made in bad faith to “sow seeds of discord between Muslims and non Muslims”.

The Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims chairman Abdulghafur El Busaidy said that the timing of the ruling was suspect and accused the court of making the ruling based on personal motives as the proposed law would affect their jobs.

The SUPKEM Chairman also explained that the judges could not declare illegal any provision of the Constitution, whether it pertains to the Kadhis Courts or not.

“The judges relied on Section 82 of the current Constitution which says that no law can be made which is discriminatory and in so doing purported to outlaw the Kadhis Court on that basis,” he explained.

“However, the judges conveniently failed to take into account the provisions of sub-section 4 of the same section which provides that in matters relating to adoption, marriage, divorce, burial, devolution of property on death or other matters of personal law, the principle of the protection from discrimination shall not apply,” he explained.

He termed it as alarming that the three-judge bench was misleading the entire nation pointing out that the jurisdiction of the Kadhis Courts under the current and proposed Constitution related to only those who professed the Muslim faith.

“It is not lost upon us that the judges were sitting in a position of conflict of interest because the passage of the proposed Constitution will directly and personally affect their tenure in office, should the new Constitution pass,” he said.

He further asked all Muslims and Kenyans at large to maintain calm since the situation had already been taken up by Attorney General Amos Wako.

They spoke as six Members of Parliament questioned the timing of the court ruling.

Cabinet Minister Najib Balala, who is also the MP for Mvita termed the ruling mischievous and accused the Judiciary of attempting to derail the constitution review process.

“The Judiciary is an aggrieved, interested party which is against the Constitution because they will be subjected to vetting or resignation for those who do not comply; this is the main reason. But we know the Constitution will transform the Judiciary so that Kenya can get justice and move forward,” he said.

Ugenya MP and Lands Minister James Orengo argued that the verdict should have been delivered earlier. He claimed that political objectives were behind the court’s ruling adding that the Judiciary had been compromised.

The Ugenya MP also said the current review process could only be challenged before the Interim Constitutional Disputes Resolution Court.


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