7 February 2013

Zambia: Islamic Groups Infighting Worries State

GOVERNMENT is closely monitoring activities of the Muslim Fraternity in Zambia following the emergence of two opposing groups which have been claiming overall control of Islamic affairs.

Home Affairs Permanent Secretary Maxwell Nkole said the wrangle between the two Islamic groups posed a great security interest.

He said it was not known why the two groups could not work together and why either party was adamant on being in control of Islamic affairs.

Mr Nkole was speaking when he appeared before the Parliamentary Committee on National Security and Foreign Affairs chaired by Kembe Member of Parliament(MP) Ronnie Shikapwasha.

He said efforts by the Registrar of Societies to reconcile the two groups had failed as it was apparent the divisions were deep-rooted.

"We are actually worried about the infighting between the two groups. We understand one faction is being led by black Muslims, while the other is led by Arabs. So we are closely monitoring their activities so that we don't compromise the security of the nation," Mr Nkole said.

He denied any political abuse in the office of the Registrar of Societies stating that the poor attitude of some officers who neglected to perform their duties was to blame for some oversights.

Commenting on the status of the Reform Party, Mr Nkole said records at the Registrar's Office indicated that the party was still in existence and yet that party had neither been active nor remitted its statutory obligations in a long time.

He said the question of the existence of the party was an academic exercise adding that the Registrar could use his discretion to close the party without making an issue out of it.

"The issue of the status of the Reform Party is an administrative issue and these are attitudes we are trying to run away from," Mr Nkole said.

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