African Press International (API)

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Kenyan Muslims declare: Members free to decide who to support, now evident they will not support Raila’s ODM

Posted by African Press International on September 3, 2007

Story by NATION Correspondent
Publication Date: 9/3/2007

Muslims will not support a particular presidential candidate in the General Election, Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims (SUPKEM), and the Chief Kadhi announced yesterday.

The chairman, Prof Abdul Ghafur El Busaidy said SUPKEMs constitution emphasised impartiality as far as political issues were concerned.

At a joint press conference in Nairobi yesterday with Chief Kadhi Sheikh Hammad Kassim, Prof Busaidy said it was upon the electorate at the individual level to scrutinise each presidential candidate before casting their votes.

Any leader therefore, he added, who wanted to direct the Muslim faithful to back a particular candidate, was doing so at an individual level.

Said Prof Busaidy: People should work with knowledge of every politician asking for their votes. We dont want to look after sheep, we want to look after human beings who think and refuse to be swayed.

Guide the faithful

On Saturday, chairman Council of Imams and Preachers of Kenya (CIPK) Sheikh Idris Mohammed also said Muslims were free to support any presidential candidate of their choice, adding that the role of the clergy was to guide the faithful, who were then to choose at an individual level.

He added that no one should impose any candidate on the followers, as political issues were part of the democratic rights, which were exercised at an individual level.

We are saying this is our stand, but the followers should be left to decide on their own, said Sheikh Mohammed.

The sentiments follow sharp differences which emerged among Muslim officials recently after a section of the CIPK and the Islamic Party of Kenya (IPK) officials declared that Muslims would back presidential hopeful Raila Odinga.

In July, the two Muslim organs also differed over a planned visit to State House, which the SUPKEM had organised, and which CIPK refused to be party to.

It rejected the trip saying it was a government plot to divide the Muslims in order to perpetuate itself in power.

Lifted and published by Korir, API*APN tel +47 932 99 739 or +47 6300 2525

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