Sunday, 10 October 2010

Kenyan Muslims abandon Raila Odinga

Kenyan Muslims have just stopped short of completely disassociating themselves with Prime Minister Raila Odinga, but clearly underscoring their bitterness with the hypocrisy of the country's second powerful individual.

In a word, Muslim leaders have given Odinga an ultimatum: to press for the return of Kenyans sent to Uganda for trials over 11 July bombs, or they withdraw the political support they have given him.

The leaders communicated the message through a front-page editorial on Friday Bulletin (8 October), a weekly 8-page journal that often strongly reflects the opinions of Kenyan Muslim leaders.

In the editorial, the leaders bemoaned apparent hypocrisy of Odinga towards Muslim issues, despite having promised that he will press for the rights of the Muslims in the country in 2007.

Titled : ''RAILA where is your voice of reason?'', the paper said: ''Raila, Muslims saw you as the voice of the oppressed but your silence if it continues to persist ,at their time of need, it will be a pointless act in 2012 for you to visit mosques pleading for support from the community'', referring to 2012 elections in which Odinga is a front-runner for president.

It pointed to a 2007 Memorandum of Understanding with Muslims where in return for the community support, Odinga pledged to ensure that the fundamental rights of Muslims are respected, which he has not honoured.

Two things have irked the Muslims.

1) Arrest of several Kenyans (most of them Muslims) and their transfer to Uganda over 11 July bombs. Odinga has kept quite despite Muslim leaders recently asking for his intervention that the arrested be returned to Kenya. The paper said Odinga seems to be sending a signal that he approves the detention of the 13 people.

2) Recently during Ramadan iftar, Odinga asked Muslims not to defend people they don’t know. This was in reference to the Uganda renditions. The Friday Bulleting said of the issue, that Odinga casually brushed off the matter when it was brought to his attention by Muslim leaders, bluntly telling them not to expect justice for those whom he termed as ''killers'', yet no one has been convicted yet.

Generally, the editorial summarised the issue thus: ''Regrettably, since his appointment as the prime minister, the myriad of pledges he had made to Muslims remain a pipe dream'', and concluded, ''according to a tradition of the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, a believer is not bitten by a snake twice from the same hole''.

Odinga has not spoken to any contributor to this blog about the subject.

A few days ago, the Friday Bulletin gave the names of Kenyans being held in Uganda over the 11 July bombing as:

1.Idriss Magondu 2.Hussein Hassan Agade 3.Mohamed Abdow 4.Muhammad Hamid 5.Habib Suleiman Njoroge 6.Yahya Mbuthia Suleiman 7.Omar Awadh Omar 8.Ismail Abubakar 9.Al-Amin Kimathi 10.Hassan Abdu Issack 11.AbdulAziz Ali 12.Abdullahi Mohamud Abdu 13.Hussein Aliow Abdi.

But, beyond the Friday Bulletin editorial, some Muslim leaders have been calling for the end of relationship between the community and Odinga. Some Muslims leaders have told contacts who contribute to this blog that even if Odinga indeed intervenes in the matter of renditions, they don’t trust him anymore.

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