CONSTITUTIONAL CHANGE

Muslim leaders say BBI will bring peace to Kenya

They will use the Muslim BBI Network of Kenya launched by Interior CS Fred Matiang’i in Mombasa to spearhead the push.

In Summary
  • The MUBBIN Kenya secretariat has already dispatched its key members to different parts of the country to preach the BBI gospel.
  • However, Matiang'i cautioned against forcing the BBI on residents saying they should only explain to them the benefits.
MUBBIN Kenya secretariat with Interior CS Fred Matiang'i at Star of the Sea hall in Mombasa on Wednesday.
WORKING TOGETHER: MUBBIN Kenya secretariat with Interior CS Fred Matiang'i at Star of the Sea hall in Mombasa on Wednesday.
Image: JOHN CHESOLI

A section of Muslim leaders has said the BBI will pass and will bring long-lasting peace in the country.

The religious leaders led by Kenya Muslim National Advisory Council chairman Sheikh Juma Ngao said they will aggressively push the over 10 million Muslims in the country to support the document.

“Islam is all about peace. The BBI is all about peace. It therefore goes without saying that the BBI is preaching the agenda of Islam. Therefore, all true Muslims should support the BBI,” Sheikh Ngao told the Star on Saturday.

His sentiments come barely three days after the launch of the Muslim BBI Network of Kenya by Interior CS Fred Matiang’i in Mombasa on Wednesday.

The MUBBIN Kenya secretariat has already dispatched its key members to different parts of the country to preach the BBI gospel.

“We are not telling people to support the BBI blindly. What we are doing is explaining to them what the BBI is all about and what Kenyans stand to benefit from it,” Sheikh Ngao said on phone.

Kemnac, and by extension MUBBIN Kenya, got a boost after six more Islamic organizations joined hands with them to push the BBI agenda.

These include Muslim Professional League Africa, HK Foundation, Chance Publishers, Kenya Institute of Foreign Languages and Professional Studies, Rahma Muslim Welfare Association, and Peace League Africa.

Sheikh Ngao and Sheikh Hassan Kinyua Omari, the Muslim Professional League Africa chair, said the BBI will not only bring peace but also ensure some of the issues that Muslims have been agitating for are achieved.

“It is a win-win situation for us,” said Sheikh Omari, who is also the Kemnac national director of legal and religious affairs.

For instance, they said, the government has agreed to meet and implement some of the demands that the Muslim community, through Kemnac, petitioned the government.

They include having a representation of the Lamu community in the Lapsset board after being without one since inception.

The Muslim leaders said it is not fair to have the Lapsset project in Lamu and have no representative of the natives in the board.

The religious leaders are also pushing for the Chief Kadhi position to go to Muslim communities from other regions apart from the Coast where the position has always stayed.

The government has also pledged to ensure that the Wakf Commission of Kenya (Amendment) Bill is passed in Parliament so as to give the commission a boost in terms of generating revenue.

Currently, the commission controls property worth over Sh10 billion but only rake less than 10 per cent of that annually because the rates at which the properties charge are those that were passed in the 1960s, with some property generating as low as Sh50 a year.

The Muslim leaders also want the government to direct all MPs to use CDF kitty to pay imams and madrassa teachers in their constituencies.

“We thank the MP for Galole constituency who has shown that it is possible,” said Salim Kassim, a member of the MUBBIN Kenya secretariat.

Matiang’i on Wednesday said the government will support MUBBIN Kenya, saying that they will support any efforts to ensure peace and cohesion is achieved in the country.

However, he cautioned against forcing the BBI on residents saying they should only explain to them the benefits of the BBI.

BBI will unify Kenyans, he said, but it is up to Kenyans to decide whether they want unity or division.

He called on Muslim leaders to educate the Muslim fraternity.

“Do not force the BBI on anyone. Just talk to them and explain to them the benefits of BBI,” he said.

“Let us start with our leaders in the county assemblies. These changes will bring benefits for us. There will be more money in the counties so that we achieve social equity,” the CS said at the Star of the Sea hall.

He said having religious leaders who are concerned with peace efforts is beneficial to the country because they have positive influence.

“We are brothers and sisters. This country is ours, all of us together. Let us stand together for our country,” said Matiang’i.

Muslim leaders also want the government to lift the ban on mangrove tree harvesting at the Coast.

They said while the ban is in place, they encourage the harvesting of casaurina.

“Unfortunately, the only people who benefit from this directive are outsiders for they are the ones who had planted casaurina. We therefore urge the government to lift the ban so that Coastal people can start to harvest mangroves to boost their economy,” the memorandum said.

Sheikh Ngao said they are ready to work with the government to ensure the country achieves peace and cohesion.

Edited by Henry Makori