The Star (Nairobi)

25 February 2013

Kenya: Muslim Clerics Rally Behind Raila

MUSLIM leaders in Nyanza have endorsed Cord leader Raila Odinga for the Presidency. Speaking at a press conference in Kisumu at the weekend, the clerics urged their faithful to reject leaders who campaigned against the new constitution.

They praised Raila for taking up the new constitution ahead of the 2010 referendum. They said the PM supported the Kadhis courts enshrined in the constitution.

They accused Jubilee presidential running mate William Ruto of misleading Kenyans on the Kadhis courts during the referendum campaigns.

"Let us remind each other that we cannot trust those who openly opposed the new constitution to implement it. If they opposed it when not in power, what will they do with it when in power?" posed Sheikh Saidi Athman, Secretary general of the Council of Imams and Preachers of Kenya, Nyanza chapter.

During the campaigns in 2010, Ruto lead the campaign against the new constitution.

"After several Months of negotiation and talks, the leaders from the Muslim community from all over Kenya have finalized a discussion on the forthcoming general elections and have decided to vote for leaders who will prioritize the implementation of the new constitution," said Athman.

The leadership of the Cord alliance are the only ones who can be entrusted with upholding and implementing the constitution. We categorically state that we are in support of the Honorable Raila Odinga as the next President of Kenya, he added.

Athman was accompanied by his chairman Sheik Abubakar Ali, Kisumu CIPK chairman Sheikh Issa Omuka and Organizing secretary Yusuf Ochina Hassan.

Ali warned Kenyans against voting for the Jubilee coalition citing that it will call for sanctions that will affect the country's economy.

"Let us not be quick to forget that when Kenya burnt after the last election, it is the international community that came to our rescue. We must not forget that sanctions are real and Kenya is not exempted and we should not go the Zimbabwe way. We must uphold the laws we are signatory to, both national and international," he added.

Omuka and Hassan called on the Muslim community across the country to turn out in large numbers and vote for the PM as a united team.

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