Kenyan Muslims want new law legitimised

August 7, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 7 – The National Muslim Leaders Forum is asking Kenyans to focus on implementing the new Constitution to propel the country forward, as opposed to clamouring for immediate amendments.

Chairman Abdullahi Abdi on Saturday also asked Kenyans to accept the verdict of the August 4 vote and take time to build the country as one united nation.

He argued that heralding a new Kenya can only be realised if the different factions that were created during the referendum campaigns get past the campaign\’s rhetoric and change their mindsets.

"The document is now waiting for the final signature of the President and it becomes the law of the land. We cannot start discussions at the moment.  Dialogue will continue between the people of Kenya to bring about harmony but it has to be separated from the recent campaigns," he said.

Further, Mr Abdi explained that it would take time before any amendments to the new document are made as all the proposed commissions that need to be created.  "If any changes will be made, they will have to be within the contents of the new legislations."

The Muslims also welcomed diversity among Kenyans saying they did not harbour any ill feelings against anyone.

Mr Abdi added that the differences in opinion that were seen during the referendum campaigns should not to be interpreted as tribal, regional or religious issues.

"The choice you have seen here (the referendum outcome) is the choice of the people of Kenya and if during the campaigns we uttered statements that offended anybody, we ask every Kenyan to forgive us. We extend our hand of friendship; of love and brotherhood," he said.

They also commended work by the Committee of Experts and the Parliamentary Select Committee on the Constitution for birthing a new law.  Separately they applauded the Interim Independent Electoral Commission for overseeing a successful referendum.

"They have enabled Kenyans to regain confidence in the national electoral process that had been eroded in the last general election," said the chairman.

The leaders also reiterated that the full enjoyment and enforcement of the Bill of Rights would require concerted efforts among the different public institutions.

"Kenya becomes by choice a nation where the rule of law is the order and not the arbitrariness of security organs for instance. Security organs need to be of service to Kenyans," Mr Abdi said.

He also called on Parliamentarians to effectively play their role in ensuring that the new law did not just remain on paper but was actually realised.

"The greatest concern to Kenyans is that Parliament should now stand up to be counted and enact the various legislations required to implement the constitution in its entirety. It will indeed go down in history as the one that changed our destiny for the better," he said.


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