NAIROBI—Muslim leaders have strongly defended Kadhis courts in the constitution, saying the courts had nothing to do with non-Muslims.
The Council of Imams and Preachers of Kenya (CIPK) has said it would not support a new constitution that will do away with the courts.
Speaking to the Friday Bulletin, Sheikh Abdalla Ateka,the CIPK national chairman accused a section of Christian leaders of introducing obstacles to scuttle the review process.
“The courts have nothing to do with the constitution making and some Christian leaders are being used to derail the process,” he said. “But we will defend the presence of the courts in the constitution by all means,” he added.
On Thursday day last week, Deliverance Church International called for the scrapping of Kadhi courts from the Constitution saying Kenya is a secular State and enshrining the courts in the constitution as it would mean the religion would be the one recognized by law.
In some of the recommendations, they will present to the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) steering committee, the church leaders said they were opposed to any religion being enshrined in the constitution and religious courts should not be funded by tax- payers’ money.
However, the Muslim leaders claimed that Church leaders opposed to the courts were acting on behalf of non-reformists who are out to ensure that the country does not realize a new constitution.
“They are misusing Kadhis courts to bring chaos in the country and disrupt the nation from dealing with the pertinent issues regarding the new constitution.
The courts deal with three main issues affecting Muslims including marriage, divorce and inheritance which has nothing to do with Christians,” said Sheikh Ateka.
On his part, Deputy Chief Kadhi Sheikh Hassan Omar Sukyan noted that the Kadhi courts deal with three main issues affecting Muslims including marriage, divorce and inheritance which has nothing to do with Christians,
Sheikh Sukyan said Muslims regard the courts as dear and will not sit back and watch its exclusion from the new constitution. He pointed out that the initial inclusion of Kadhis’ courts in independent Kenya’s first constitution in 1963 was the result of a deal between the British government, the Government of Kenya under Jomo Kenyatta, and the Sultan of Zanzibar.
The decision to include the courts in Kenya’s founding document was an outcome of a larger decision that secured the 10-mile coastal strip along the Indian Ocean then under the Sultanate of Zanzibar as Kenyan territory, avoiding a landlocked geogra- phy and a divided demographic.