Christians in Protest Against Kadhis Courts

Traffic came to a standstill in the Nairobi Central Business District yesterday as Christians made a historic public demonstration against Kadhis' courts.

The placard-carrying Christians from different denominations chanted "No Kadhis courts" from Uhuru Park along Kenyatta Avenue, Koinange, Kaunda, Muindi Mbingu, Mama Ngina, Wabera, City Hall Way, Taifa Road and into Harambee Avenue.

Some of the placards they were carrying read: "Christians arise against Kadhis courts"; "No Kadhis Courts"; "No State religion"; "Christians cry out to God, Kenya is sold"; "A referendum a must for Kadhis' courts"; "Why Islam and not Ogiek community?"; "Why favour one religious group?"; "80 per cent of population say no to Kadhis courts"; and "No Kadhis courts in the Constitution".

The group sang: "I am a soldier in the army of the Lord" and "Let God arise, His enemies be scattered", among other songs.

The march, which kicked off at around 12.30 pm, was led by the Chairman of the Kenya Church, the Federation of Churches in Kenya, Rev Dr Jesse Kamau and Bishop Jafferson Nyatuka of Pentecostal Church of God.

They want a referendum on the whole Constitution document, especially the Kadhi's courts, which they said should not be entrenched in the Constitution.

Nyatuka said no one was hearing them at Bomas, alleging that recently they were barred from giving their views and were even abused.

They threatened to surround Parliament when it resumes if their demands were not met.

When they arrived at Sheria House at around 1 pm, the marchers were stopped at the gates by armed security personnel.

"We have come to demand our rights," they said as they waved a two-page typed memorandum at the security officers.

The memorandum was headed: "Memorandum to the Honourable Kiraitu Murungi, Minister for Justice and Constitutional Affairs", and was dated March 15, 2002.

However, Kiraitu was not there as he was tied up at Bomas but the memorandum was received by a Deputy Secretary in the Ministry, Ms Dorothy Kimeu.

In the memorandum, the Christians said they were convinced that by entrenching the Kadhis courts in the Constitution, it would amount to elevating one religion above others.

"This is tantamount to indirectly declaring Islam the official State religion," the memorandum said.