The Muslim Question in Kenya: New Order Party of Kenya

Kenya is by law a secular state. The question of separation of the religion and government has largely been ignored for a very long time and it is only now that there is a constitutional making issue that voices are being raised and temperature flaring about this tricky, thorny and critical issue.

The naked truth is that, religion in Kenya plays a big role in governance as they are organized governments. Other than the usual political positions taking by the churches and Muslim bodies, today we have influential Bishops and Sheikhs serving Government as Ministers and Members of Parliament.

It is normal today to see individual spirituality being an increasingly important element of leadership in every domain. We have seen religion organizing their followers to take a united stance for the common good of the community.

Christians and Muslims form the significant proportion of the national population. Both faith profess and teach love of God, unity in God and love for thy Neighbour. No matter the numbers or geography, mutual respect and harmonious coexistence of political systems and ideas, but not necessarily culture between the two religions shall form the platform for a peaceful and prosperous country.

Both Christians and Muslims have their legitimate grievances especially in the process of constitutional making. Unfortunately these grievances are rapidly degenerating to conflict situations leading to certain religious leaders taking extreme positions. Under stress, religious leaders are known to react by reducing their own beliefs and forming tight knit religious entities to protect their interests.

The role of religion in Kenya must not be to divide the country. Any person elected in whatever capacity in Kenya or any Government must be allowed to lead without allowing convictions take over them. It is common sense that just likes any public policy; the constitution must not be made out of religious convictions. Reasons other than religious reasons must be allowed to have the ultimate say for the public good in constitution making.

Muslim community in Kenya represents an equally significant constituency in Kenya. The representation in the Governance and government institutions is by far below par. To ask for policies to be adopted to allow proportionate representation is a legitimate demand. This is fact.

Internally displaced persons of Muslims faith (Bajunis) that were displaced by the Shifta Wars are still IDPs, more than three decades later. Massive land grabbing at the Kenyan coastal strip by wealthy and powerful individuals from the indigenous who are dominantly Muslim is a daily reality. Absentee landlords amongst other land related issues are some of the legitimate concerns of Muslims.

Hajj is one of the Pillars of Islamic faith. World over Hajj pilgrimage is taken very seriously. Unlike other countries, Kenyan going for Hajj festivities are least assisted by the government in planning, logistics and welfare. If other secular governments assist their citizens for Hajj, would anybody blame Muslims for voicing their displeasure?

Wakf Commission was established under the Act of Parliament. Empowering of the Commission is necessary for normal operations.

Formation of a central body to cater for specific muslim needs is paramount. Lack of proper organisation andlegislation leaves Muslims with no proper forum to express and address their grievances leaving them at the mercy of politicians. Polarizations, divisions and rivalry between and among the leaders compromises any hopes of leadership in articulating Muslim woes. This is a legitimate concern.

De-registrations of Muslim NGOs have left many Muslim madrassas unable to operate. This has largely been explained so due to the threat on terror. Most Muslim areas are marginalized area and due to poverty, draught and underdevelopment, Muslim parents cannot afford to pay for the madrassas fee. The government has a very able machinery to screen NGO’s and their source of money. In every flock, there must be a black sheep. Because of a few individuals, the entire community must not be made to suffer. To voice the concern about the NGO’s deregistration is a legitimate issue for the entire Muslim Community. This is a fact.

The other messy issues touching the community include underdevelopment of Muslim areas, poor education infrastructure, lack of adequate bursaries and scholarships, Drugs Abuse, making Idd ul Hajj and Idd ul Fitr public holidays among others. The community is bound to feel marginalized with all these real afflictions.

The Kadhi Courts and Muslim Wakils issues also affect Muslim community. The debate rages on whether Kadhi Courts should or should not be included in the constitution. Opposing sides have their legitimate points but it is worthy noting that these courts have been operational since the days of Sultanate.

The jurisdiction of the Kadhi Courts is very limited and well stipulated in the Kenya Judiciary Website ( and only covers determination of questions of Muslim Law relating to personal status, marriage, divorce or inheritance in proceedings in which all parties are Muslims.

New Order Party of Kenya (NOPE) believes that the arguments on Kadhi Courts’ should be guided by reason beyond religious convictions so that all Kenyans can join in, share and contribute to in the debate. Extreme religious positions of placing the religious justifications are not helpful and only serve to hurt the process.

We are in Kenya because God wanted us in Kenya.

Kenya belongs to all Kenyans.

God Bless Kenya

Lawrence Kamau Macharia


New Order Party of Kenya

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