Kenya: Muslims Want PM to Implement Pre-Election MoU
Catholic Information Service for Africa (Nairobi)
6 June 2008
Posted to the web 6 June 2008
A fresh round of interfaith sparring could break out here following demands by Muslim clerics that the state implement a controversial pact they signed with Prime Minster Raila Odinga ahead of last year’s elections.
The National Muslim Leaders Forum (NAMLEF) told Odinga to fulfil his part of the deal he reached with Muslims while running for president on an Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) ticket. He lost the bitterly disputed elections to Mwai Kibaki.
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NAMLEF chairman Abdullahi Abdi said that Odinga’s entering into a power-sharing agreement with President Kibaki, leading to formation of the Grand Coalition Government, did not absolve him from fulfilling the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) he signed with NAMLEF.
“We signed an MoU with Raila [Odinga] and we expect to see that he honours this agreement,” said Abdi, according to a Nairobi-based Muslim weekly newsletter, Friday Bulletin.
The MoU provoked intense Christian-Muslim antipathy here ahead of the elections, with the Catholic bishops of Kenya saying “promises to give any faith-group special rights and the application of its particular religious laws for governance are completely contrary to the Constitution of Kenya.”
The pact committed Odinga, once he attained power, to ensure that the rights of Muslims were respected. It also specified the correction of wrongs which Muslims in the country had allegedly been subjected to since independence.
Abdi further pointed out that NAMLEF would continue to engage various organs of the government to ensure the inalienable rights of Muslims are respected. He called for unity among Muslims, saying that it will ensure they were apportioned a fair share of the ‘national cake’.
NAMLEF, he said, was formed to promote meaningful Muslim participation in public affairs. In the last three years, the chairman observed, the community had made significant strides in the political arena, including working for the defeat of the proposed Constitution in the 2005 referendum and increase of Muslims parliamentarians to a record 33.