The gap between Christians and Muslims widens in Kenya


Nairobi -- The publication of a draft constitution for Kenya, recognising the presence of Muslim civil courts known as the Kadhi courts, has continued to widen the Christian-Muslim split.

Kenyan Church leaders have dismissed the creation of the Kadhi Courts, as proposed in the draft constitution, as a plan to "elevate one religion over the other," while the Islamic clerics have warned that they would mobilise the Muslim community to reject a new draft that omits the Kadhi courts.

The last attempt to have a constitution, in November 2005, saw a majority vote rejecting the draft constitution, which proposed to create the office of the Chief Kadhi, to enjoy similar constitutional powers as the Chief Justice.

Kenyan Christians voiced their opposition to such a proposal and branded it a "contentious" issue, among other thorny issues which need to be handled carefully.

The Anglican Church of Kenya, one of the most powerful groups in Kenya, added its voice to the ongoing discussions on the draft constitution where they asked for an amendment of the draft law to remove the kadhi courts. Anglican Church of Kenya's top cleric Rev Eliud Wabukala says '' constitution should maintain equality''currently constituted by an act of parliament, should remain as such.

In Kenya, an act of parliament can always be scrapped by a similar legislation and does not need much political support to marshal, but a constitutitional amendment requires at least 65 percent of parliamentarians to a mend.

Rev. Wabukala said the creation of the Kadhi courts in the draft constitution was a "contradiction" of the law, which should guarantee equality of all religions.

The Anglican Church has asked the government and a group of experts that has drawn the draft constitution to define, clearly, the right of persons to propagate religion, the right of a person to convert to another religion, and they have also asked the President to assume the powers over all security agencies, including the Police and the prisons.

There has also been a heated debate whereby the constitution does not clearly define when life begins. At birth or at conception this has especially received complains from the Catholic church.

Clearly the gap is widening between the Christians and Muslims in Kenya.

Story originally reported for KBC. | Photo from Zested