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JSC challenged to advertise Chief Kadhi position

Muslims scholars have asked the Judiciary Service Commission (JSC) to ensure the upcoming recruitment of Chief Kadhi position is fair and transparent.

Kenya Muslims National Advisory Council (KEMNAC) National Chairman Sheikh Juma Ngao told a conference of Muslims scholars that JSC has assured his council that the new Chief Kadhi and his deputy will be picked through a competitive recruitment process.

“We have written to JSC and sought their assurance that the new Chief Kadhi will be hired through open, fair and transparent procedure that will allow applications from any qualified Muslim scholar in the country regardless of his tribe region,” added Sheikh Ngao.

He was speaking during a three days conference of Muslim scholars and leaders drawn from all the 47 counties to discuss matters facing the community. The conference was officially opened by Coast Regional Commissioner John Elungata.

Sheikh Ngao refuted claims his organization is witch-hunting certain ethnic communities and families that have produced Chief Kadhis since independence in its demand to ensure there is competitiveness in the recruitment of the Chief Kadhi.

“It is not true that I am against certain communities in asking the judiciary to hire Chief Kadhi through transparent means. I want every learned Muslim person in this country to be seen as capable of serving in that important position,” added Ngao.

He further demanded that the JSC set up a panel of eminent Muslims scholars who will preside over the hiring of the Chief Kadhi and Deputy Chief Kadhi.

“We demand that the selection panel be composed of representatives from Kemnac, Supkem, CIPK and Namlef among others, so that everyone accepts the outcome of the process,” he reiterated.

He claimed that previous appointments of the Chief Kadhi had been shrouded in secrecy, where selected individuals were called to appoint the judicial officer mandated to head Kadhi courts handling marriages, divorces and inheritance among Kenyan Muslims.

Sheikh Ngao argued that any competent Muslim scholar is qualified to hold the Chief Kadhi and Deputy Kadhi positions irrespective of their tribes and regions.

“It cannot be only the Coast region to keep producing Chief Kadhi. We want to see other qualified Kenyan Muslims to be considered including from Kisumu, Central, Western, North Eastern and Masaai land,” he added.

The office of Chief Kadhi is expected to fall vacant in November this year when the incumbent Sheikh Ahmed Muhdhar retires.

The Muslim leaders also called for President Uhuru Kenyatta’s intervention over the recent recruitment of new teachers by the Teachers Service Commission (TSC).

Ngao told the Coast regional Commissioner that TSC recruited a paltry 12 teachers to teach Islamic Religious Education (IRE) in public secondary schools despite dire shortage of that cadre.

“On one hand, the national government is fighting violent extremism and radicalization and on the other hand, TSC is contributing to radicalization and terrorism through skewed hiring of religious teachers.

Muslims students will leave schools without learning the wrongs of Jihad and other radical teachings,” observed Sheikh Ngao.

He also asked Elungata to ensure all Muslim-owned schools are headed by Muslims head teachers citing a recent case in which TSC posted none Muslim to Serani Secondary School.

“We want Serani Secondary School to be headed by a Muslim just like other faith-based schools that area headed by people who belong to those faiths,” he added.

By Galgalo Bocha

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