NAIROBI, Kenya Oct 19- The Kenya Christian Constitution Forum on Monday accused the Committee of Experts on the Constitution review of refusing to meet them to discuss their concerns about the inclusion of the controversial Kadhi`s Courts in the new Constitution.
Forum’s Spokesperson Dr Stephen Kibachia questioned the insistence of the experts’ team that the courts were not a contentious issue, when there were Kenyans who were not comfortable with the idea.
“Kadhi`s courts still remains a contentious issue as far as we are concerned and the CoE must come out clearly and say that they were wrong in leaving it out as a contentious issue and start matters from there,” Dr Kibachia said.
The religious groups have been accused of using issues such as minimal reforms and the Kadhi`s courts to act as a diversionary tactic to delay the review process.
“We as the Church wanted this constitution like yesterday; we are not a hindrance to the process,” Dr Kibachia said.
Bishop Arthur Kitonga, a member of the forum said they will mobilize their followers to shoot down the Draft when it comes to the referendum if their views continue to be ignored.
He added that the constitution should apply to all Kenyans regardless of their religious belief.
“We are asking what right are the Muslims going to lose by the Kadhi`s court not being in the constitution. They will still continue using their personal law within their religious institutions and at their own cost,” he said.
The evangelical and Pentecostal churches which have been opposed to the enhancement of Islamic courts, further disowned reports that its representative sitting in a meeting with the Committee of Experts and the Reference Group had agreed to the inclusion of the courts.
Expert team chairman Nzamba Kitonga was quoted last Friday as saying that the group agreed to the courts on condition that they will not be given more powers that they have in the current laws.
The clamour for a new Constitution started close to two decades ago and is always faced with new hurdles. In 2005 Kenyans in a referendum rejected a proposed draft with main differences being on ‘devolution’ and the inclusion of the Kadhis courts in the constitution.
Already a group of Bishops have filed a case in court to object to the review claiming it is non-inclusive.
“We are ready to work with them (Committee of Experts) to get a new constitution but again it must be the right one,” said Bishop Margaret Wanjiru.
The minimum reforms call comes amidst complaints from the civil society and political parties that the Committee of Experts had failed to satisfactorily consult relevant stakeholders in the process.