Thursday, April 15, 2010

Snake Mail

In addition to this email that M has dispatched with deserved contempt, I also received the following FAQs from our churches. My reactions to both underneath.

Kenya Christian Leaders Forum
Frequently Asked Questions on Contentious Issues in the Constitution Review Process

1. Why is a National Constitution important?

The Constitution of a nation is the most important governance document. It is the mother and father of all laws. Any law that is in conflict with the Constitution is null and void. It defines the people, their values and the nation and its destiny. Kenya 's current constitution was written in London with the help of the British colonialist. It is under review to correct past anomalies and ensure justice, fairness and equity for everyone.

2. Why are Christians against Kadhis Courts in the Draft Constitution?

Christians are against the inclusion of Kadhis Courts because it is an outright injustice to other religions. Kenya is a multi-religious society! Christians' objections to the inclusion of Kadhi Courts were ignored by the government, the Constitution of Kenya Review Commission, the BOMAS gathering, the Committee of Experts and most recently the Parliamentary Select Committee. Christians are left with no choice but to vote against the new Constitution unless the Courts are removed.

3. Are Christians against Muslims?

No. Christians are not against Muslims. They are against injustice and unfairness in the draft constitution perpetrated by the Government and the review organs.

4. Why didn't Christians request for Christian Courts?

Christians seek for a just society for all Kenyans, not only the rights of Christians. They advocated for an effective executive with an accountable President, an effective Parliament, an efficient judiciary, and respect for the rights and responsibilities that promote an equitable, just and moral values based society. The Constitution must set up a Judiciary that is good for all Kenyans.

5. How come Kadhis Court was not identified as a contentious issue by the Committee of experts?

Christians submitted thousands of memoranda to the Committee of Experts rejecting the inclusion of Kadhis courts in the constitution. The Committee of Experts deliberately refused to identify Kadhis Courts as a contentious issue. Instead, the Committee of Experts that was supposed to be impartial, was partisan and openly campaigned for inclusion of Kadhis Courts in the constitution. We now think it was deliberate because Muslims have dominated the Committee of Experts and the Parliamentary Select Committee.

6. Are there Christian MPs in Parliament who can speak for Christians the way Muslim MPs do?

There are Christian members of Parliament, but they have been silent. They have not stood for what is right and just. Church leaders are calling on Christian MPs to stand up and be counted. In future, we urge you as a citizen to vote for those people who will not sit by and watch as our country is sold out. Meanwhile, Christians must organize themselves under the Lords guidance and speak the truth even if MPs fail us.

7. So what do Christians want?

It is not what Christians want but rather what Kenyans want. Kenyans want a constitution that defines how society is organized on the basis of justice, truth, fairness, effective checks and balances, and an effective bill of rights for all Kenyans. With regard to religion, it should be one that provides for freedom of worship to people of all faiths under the Bill of Rights. The Constitution of Kenya must remain neutral with regard to religion, in order to offer equal protection to the people of all religions.

8. Why are Christians opposed to Kadhis courts yet they have not harmed any body?

The fact that the Kadhi Courts did not harm non-Muslims does not mean it was right for them to be included in the Constitution. It was wrong and discriminatory against the people of other faiths from the beginning. Kenyans' patience since independence must not be taken for granted. It is time to correct all wrong things. Muslims should by now be an integral part of the Kenyan community not requiring special treatment or protection! The constitution must not divide the people along religious or other lines. Kenyans want one nation, one land, one law that caters for all irrespective of religious affiliation. This is the practice in stable democracies around the world. We should not let a new constitution to perpetuate past injustices. Christ said: "And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the wineskins will be ruined. No, he pours new wine into new wineskins” (Mark 2:22). Inclusion of Kadhis Courts in the new constitution is like pouring new wine into old wineskins. It will burst the skins.

9. Who qualifies to be a Kadhi?

A Kadhi is a Muslim judge or magistrate. While many claim that the Kadhi is a purely judicial officer who serves in a Kadhis Court , they in Kenya they perform religious functions. The Chief Kadhi declares the beginning of Ramadhan a major Muslim religious festival. As an officer of government, it is discriminatory that, to be a Kadhi, one must profess the MUSLIM RELIGION. This means even if a Christian possesses knowledge of the MUSLIM LAW applicable to any SECTS OF MUSLIMS, he cannot serve as a Kadhi, meanwhile Muslims can preside over cases of non Muslims!

10. What law does Kadhis Court enforce?

Kadhis Courts enforce Islamic law commonly referred to as Sharia. Sharia is the Arabic word where our Kiswahili word Sheria is borrowed from. Sharia is the law system based on the the Koran, the Sunna, older Arabic law systems, parallel traditions, and the work of Muslim scholars over the two first centuries of Islam.

11. What are the implications of the inclusion of Kadhis Courts in the Constitution?

The inclusion of Islamic Sharia courts in the constitution divides Kenyans along religious lines. It would reinforce two classes of Kenyans, Muslims and the rest. Kenyans are seeking a constitution that unites.

12. Is the draft constitution Christian?

No. The draft Constitution is a collection of all just and fair laws from any source where they may be found. It draws from Judeo-Christian principles of equality, fairness, justice and equity does not make it Christian! These are values recognized by people from all religions, ethnic communities or professional backgrounds. We as Kenyans do not want a Christian or Muslim or Hindu constitution. We want a Kenyan constitution made by all Kenyans for all Kenyans. Unfortunately, as it is now, the constitution appears to be Islamic! It mentions the word Muslim 6 times, and Kadhis 5 times. It does not mention the word Christian at all!

13. What have Christians proposed?

That the Constitution recognizes every Kenyans freedom of worship. That every Kenyan worships and submits to the religion they choose at their own cost and not government's cost. We appeal that all religious beliefs and practices be left to the Churches, Mosques and Temples where they belong.

14. Did Jomo Kenyatta agree with the Sultan to entrench Kadhis Court in the constitution?

No. Kenyatta undertook to the Sultan of Zanzibar to only preserve the jurisdiction of Kadhis courts. The Kadhi was to operate in the ten mile Coastal strip. While Section 66 of the current constitution provides that the Chief Kadhi and the Kadhis “shall each be empowered to hold a Kadhis court having jurisdiction within the former Protectorate or within such part of the former Protectorate as may be so prescribed”, the government violated the constitution and established Kadhis Courts in areas which are outside the ten mile coastal strip like. Christians filed a case in court to challenge this wanton violation of the constitution of Kenya .

15. If Christians succeed in rejecting the constitution during the referendum, will we not still have Kadhis Courts under the current Constitution any way?

Christians are actively involved in this matter and will not stop at a No vote at the referendum. Christians filed a case in the High Court in 2004 to declare Kadhis Court unconstitutional. The hearing ended in February 2009. It is regrettable that time has lapsed and the High Court is yet to deliver the judgment. Christians will next sponsor a motion in Parliament to amend the current constitution to delete section 66 which provides for Kadhis Court .

16. Should Kenyans reject the draft constitution just because it has Kadhis Courts?

Yes. If you had a soda with a small amount of poison, would you drink it? Let us not be deceived by people who either do not have the interest of Kenya at heart or are unable to see divisiveness of this issue. If they are serious and want us to accept the new constitution, let them delete all references to the Kadhis Court in the constitution.

17. Is it true that the Bill of Rights shall not apply to Muslims?

Yes. Muslims are the only Kenyans who are allowed to violate the Bill of Rights. Kenyans should not allow this to happen. Let every Kenyan be equal before the law of the land and particularly the Bill of Rights.

18. If Christians succeed in rejecting the Kadhis Court, will the Muslims unleash violence?

No. Christians and Kenyans in general should not allow themselves to be manipulated and intimidated by the threat of violence. Kenya is a democracy, Muslims must argue with ideas and the ballot box, not violence. In any case, it is hoped that Muslims in Kenya are peace loving and will respect the decision of Kenyans. The threat by some Muslim leaders to secede from Kenya is a matter that the security forces are able to handle.

19. What about abortion?

Abortion is the willful termination of a woman's pregnancy on the basis that it is unwanted. A woman may herself be under pressure because she desires to hide the fact or may be under pressure from other person(s) for the same reasons

20. When does life begin?

Life begins at Conception. All doctors who claim that life begins at birth are professionally untrustworthy, because the fetus in the mother's womb are usually alive. Whenever a fetus dies, it is always an emergency to operate and to remove it.

21. What do Pro-abortionists want?

Their interest is to make money from vulnerable women. In the course of the abortion process the life of the woman is endangered, their conscience and faith are trashed and they become guilty of murder.

22. What does God say about the life of the unborn?

The unborn babies are complete human beings created in the image of God. Any one who aborts them is a murderer. God called Jeremiah in the mother's womb (Jer. 1:4-5). When Mary after she became pregnant met Elizabeth , John leaped in her womb to rejoice at Jesus. (Lk 1:41-44). God commanded that His people in the sixth commandment, 'Thou shalt not kill.' (Ex 20:13) Abortion is murder, the killing of the unborn innocents.

23. Does anti-abortion law hinder the practice of medicine?

No. The constitution allows a doctor, upon medical examination of a pregnant woman, to terminate a pregnancy if the life of the mother faces a medical condition that leads to the death of both mother and baby.

24. What about Marriage?

The Constitution must state that Marriage in Kenya is between two adults of the opposite sex. It must not allow any type of marriage which God calls an abomination. For us as Kenyans, let us pray that God blesses our men and women to form godly and healthy marriages.

25. What can I do as a Kenyan?

As a citizen of this nation you must make your voice heard on these matters! You also need to do the following:
  • You must read and understand the draft Constitution personally
  • Petition your Members of Parliament to delete all the sections referring to Kadhis Courts, or that introduce any unacceptable laws in the Constitution.
  • Register yourself as a voter, and ensure all your friends register as voters. If Kadhis Courts, pro-abortion laws are included in the constitution ensure that all your friends and yourself vote NO at the referendum.
  • Photocopy this paper and pass it to at least 10 more people in your area.
  • Pray that God will defeat all the efforts of the people seeking to perpetrate an injustice against Christians and other religions by entrenching the Kadhis Court in the constitution.
Issued by Christian leaders from all Church Denominations, all Umbrella Organizations and all other Christian Organizations in Kenya . These include all Churches and organizations under the NCCK, the KEC, the EAK, the UCCK, and the FEICCK. For comments or further enquiries, contact: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or

It is not very Christian to impute improper motives on others especially when you have not bothered to provide a shred of evidence. To suggest that the head of the IIEc is biased simply because he is a Muslim or that abortionists are simply after vulnerable women's money is beyond contempt and unworthy of people that claim to be dedicated to truth. You have every right to disagree with them, but casting aspersions was something the Pharisees, not Jesus did. Outright lies, such as the one that "persons of Somali ethnicity now out number any others in Kenya" are unbecoming of people claiming to be followers of Christ.

On the merits, the draft constitution is clear. Abortion is illegal. I happen to think that this is wrong as a matter of public policy, and causes more harm than good, but this are not considerations the church burdens itself with. Banning abortion, as has been the experience worldwide, will not stop it. The restriction has little to do with protecting babies (which it doesn't) and everything to do with declaring a self-righteous statement of principle at the expense of our women and girls. While they die in their thousands at the hands of quacks, the churches prefer to listen, not to their screams, but to its own voice.

The church opposes sex education in schools and the free provision of contraception under the guise of protecting our adolescents morality, burying its head in the sand when confronted with overwhelming evidence that they (our young ones) are having sex regardless. I would much prefer they did it with the knowledge of how to protect themselves, but churchmen rather like to listen to themselves talk.

Kenyans have striven for a new constitution for 2 decades, shedding a lot of blood, sweat and tears in the process. The document we will be presented with at the referendum will not be perfect; no constitution ever is hence the amendment procedure. But because of Kadhi courts, which the churches themselves admit have not harmed non-Muslims (see no. 8 in the Frequently Asked Questions on Contentious Issues in the Constitution Review Process below), the whole constitution-making project is imperiled. This is narcissism in the extreme. So as we sing out for a new constitutional dispensation, the preachermen are enchanted by their own song.

Finally, Mwalimu Julius Nyerere had a word of advice to his cadres that the churches would do well to heed. "Argue, don't shout!" he told them. The churches may think that they will carry the day because they have the loudest voice, but they are grossly mistaken. For years they have refused to engage in intelligent debate on social issues, preferring instead to shout from their pulpits. This time, their demagoguery will be laid bare.

No comments: