Prime Minister Raila Odinga yesterday denied that he trashed a Memorandum of Understanding he signed with Muslims in the run-up to the 2007 general election. He said he fulfilled his part of the bargain insisting that he has evidence to back him. Some Muslims including imams allied to the Council of Imams and Preachers of Kenya and Supkem last year raised the MoU issue after the sacking of the former Tourism minister Najib Balala.
"Some are saying Raila went against a promise. Raila cannot go against any promise," he told hundreds of Muslims at the Treasury Square in Mombasa during the annual Eid Baraza hosted by Mombasa mayor Ahmed Mohdhar. He said he fought for a constitutional change, one of the agreements in the MoU. He also said he fought for the inclusion of Kadhi Courts in the constitution, an issue that was met with strong opposition from both the church and some politicians.
"When we went to Bomas, they opposed the Kadhi Courts. They said it is not possible to include Kadhi Courts in the Constitution because there are no Christian courts in Kenya. But I said we have been having the Kadhi Courts since independence and they have not affected anyone," he said.
The PM said he has walked a long journey with Muslims in the fight for the second liberation. He cited Sheikh Abdulatiff Abdallah, Prof Ali Mazrui, Prof Rashid Mzee, Omar Mwinyi and political activist Khalid Balala of the once famous IPK party, who have been with him in the fight for democracy in the country.
He said the MoU also had issues of employment for the Muslims, which he said he fought for as well. "The other issue was that of employment and I have a long list that I can present. We have come from far together. We must continue going forward together," said the PM.
Mombasa mayor Ahmed Mohdhar said those saying Raila had breached the MoU are speaking out of bitterness. He said no one should speak on behalf of Muslims except Chief Kadhi Ahmed Muhdhar. Meanwhile, Raila has accused those pushing for the retention of county commissioners of working to dilute the county government structures. He said the constitution does not provide for the county commissioners and their subsequent appointment by the Executive.
Raila spoke yesterday morning when he hosted university students under the umbrella of Mombasa Inter-Colleges and University Students Association, and Wapwani na Raila lobby group for breakfast meeting at Nyali Beach Hotel. "You cannot appoint a county commissioner even before the governor is elected. They want to appoint such officers so that they can neutralize the devolved government structure.
The PM said the forces are out to poison the county government system even before they become operational. Raila said no one has the prerogative to appoint the county commissioners and that forces of impunity want to use back door to dilute the constitution. The appointment of county commissioners by President Kibaki sparked protests from the PM and other leaders. But High Court judge Mumbi Ngugi declared the appointments null and void.
Acting Internal Security minister Yusuf Haji has gone ahead to appeal against the ruling. "Be warned, forces of impunity are very powerful and they are still alive dating from the time of 2010 referendum," he said. He reiterated that the future of this country lies in the implementation of this constitution with him as the right person to spearhead the reform agenda. "Just give me a chance I fast track the reform process and then hand over to a youthful generation to go ahead or the whole process will be hijacked by the lords of impunity," Raila told the students.