No more room for fresh views on BBI, Raila tells Muslim leaders

ODM leader Raila Odinga has said there is no more time to engage Kenyans on the proposed constitutional amendments under the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI).

Speaking in Mombasa yesterday, Raila said those with contrary views were within their democratic right to do so.

He spoke aboard the Tamarind dhow when he engaged leaders from the Majlis Ulama and Kenya Muslim National Advisory Council (Kemnac), who presented their memorandum on the BBI.

“As things stand, there is no room to accommodate fresh views on BBI. The Constitution is a living document. The gaps identified will be filled through amendments over time.

First amendment

“This is the first amendment to the 2010 Constitution. Even the best constitution in the world has been amended many times,” he said.

The Muslim leaders were led by Kemnac chair Juma Ngao and Majlis Ulama’s Sheikh Rishard Raja Ramadhan.

Jomvu legislator Badi Twalib represented Governor Hassan Joho, who has pitched tent in Msambweni to campaign for ODM candidate Omar Boga for the December 15 by-election.

In the memorandum presented by Sheikh Ngao, the Muslim leaders demanded that if the president is a non-Muslim, the positions of deputy president or prime minister be handed to a Muslim from the Coast region.

They called for elevation of the office of Chief Kadhi to the equivalent of a High Court judge, and establishment of Kadhi’s Court of Appeal to handle cases of the lower Kadhi’s courts.

The clerics called for the establishment of the Board of Muslim Scholars of Kenya under the chairmanship of the Mufty of Kenya.

They demanded that all ambassadors appointed to Muslim and Arabian countries be Muslims.

They also sought the promotion of Muslims to senior positions in the military and in all uniformed disciplined forces.

The clerics called for the implementation of the Ndung’u land report and the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission report to resolve land conflicts in the Coast region.

They called for the formation of a committee representing coastal communities to find a lasting solution to the problem surrounding land belonging to absentee landlords.

Registration of Islamic universities with name “Islamic”, was also sought, “to avoid discrimination”.

“We have had consultation with the former Prime Minister for about three hours on BBI and we hope our views to the President will be considered,” Ngao said.

Raila expressed confidence that the BBI document would sail through, noting that it had already received massive endorsements from Kenyans who had appended their signatures to it.

Mr Twalib said the BBI document had captured important issues for the Coast region, including promotion of the blue economy, and urged residents to endorse it.

“Promotion of the blue economy and cash crops in the Coast region have been well anchored (in the BBI report) and hence we should support this document as a region,” Twalib said.

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