Muslims pressure Raila on secret deal

Prime Minister Raila Odinga is on the spot. Muslim leaders are now demanding that he make good the promises he made to them in exchange for their support of his presidency.

The National Muslim Leaders Forum says they kept their side of the bargain – mobilizing the Muslim community to support Raila and the ODM – and now want him to honour his pledge to among others, set up a commission to inquire into the schemes and actions of the government to target and interfere with the community’s welfare.

According to the details of the memorandum of understanding signed between Raila and Namlef which the Nairobi Star has in its possession and whose contents have been shrouded in secrecy, the Muslims want the PM to have all the Kenyans who were illegally arrested and renditioned to Somalia, Ethiopia and Guantanamo Bay as terrorism suspects be released and returned home.

“Such schemes and actions will be put to an end and public officers responsible for the same named and held to account,” he pledged in the memorandum.

The NAMLEF leaders have already met Raila over the MOU that almost derailed the ODM leader’s presidential campaign last year and demanded that he starts to implement the promises he made to the Muslims.

“He told us that some of the issues will have to be discussed and agreed on at cabinet level before their implementation,” the officials said.

Raila is also understood to be referring all matters relating to the MOU to Tourism Minister Najib Balala. The Mvita MP witnessed Raila sign the MOU with the Chairman of NAMLEF Sheik Abdullahi Abdi. Other witnesses were Said Athman and Mohammed Adan.

The Muslim Human Rights Forum (MHRF) has also written to the prime minister asking him to intervene and address the issue of arbitrary detention, rendition and disappearance of alleged terror suspects as agreed in the deal.

“MHRF wishes to draw your attention to the continued suffering in detention in Ethiopia and the disappearance of any of those suspects illegally removed from Kenya in the ass renditions that took place in January and February last year,” they said in a letter signed by Chairman Al-Amin Kimathi.

It further states: “You are aware too that amongst these people detained without trial were nineteen Kenyans and that one of them is now held at the US Naval base detention facility at Guantanamo Bay Cuba”.

Kimathi said Raila had personally in an open letter to President Kibaki published in local dailies in October last year, acknowledged the report compiled by the MHRF entitled “Horror of Terror” and lamented the government’s inaction on the revelations of the gross violations of these detainees’ rights.

“As we said in our report from which you quoted extensively, the fate of the deported Kenyans remains under a very dark cloud fifteen months after their renditions,” said Kimathi.

They reminded Raila that in the memorandum he committed himself to stand as a beacon of hope in the face of injustice and support institutions where “veritable” evidence and not “ethnicity” was the barometer f guilt.

The group is now asking when the Government will bring back the deportees to be accorded justice locally, the steps being taken to ensure gross violations are dealt with ad ensure those involved are brought to book and when legislation will be introduced in Parliament to safeguard against such abuse in future.

The letter is copied to various cabinet ministers among them Martha Karua, Moses Wetangula, professor George Saitoti, Ibrahim Mohamed Elmi, AG Amos Wako, Police commissioner Major-general Hussein Ali, KNHCR chairman Maina Kiai.

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