12 March 2004

Kenya: Now Government Backs Kadhi Courts

Nairobi — The Government wants the contentious Kadhis courts entrenched in the Constitution, Assistant Minister Robinson Githae told Bomas yesterday.

And it appeared yesterday that the courts will be 'entrenched' in the final draft constitution from the National Constitutional Conference.

The Kadhis courts shall consist of the Chief Kadhi's and other kadhis all of whom profess the Islamic faith.

The court shall be a subordinate court with jurisdiction to determine questions of Islamic law relating to personal status, marriage and succession in proceedings in which the parties profess the Islamic faith.

Githae said it was the position of the government that the Kadhis courts be entrenched in the Constitution.

He said the Kadhis courts have been in existence since independence and there would be no problem with their entrenchment.

However, he said the courts should be limited to personal law, inheritance, marriage and divorce.

But representatives of the Kenya Churches expressed disappointment with the manner in which the issue of the Kadhis courts had been handled. They said religions should be treated equally as Parliament could make legislation on religious courts.

At the same time, delegates at Bomas have so far endorsed 15 Chapters with six pending

Those that are pending are on the legislature, executive, devolution, representation of the people, public finance and transition and consequential arrangements.

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