By Mbarak Abucheri
The Kadhi’s Act should be reviewed to allow Kadhi’s courts to effectively handle matters pertaining to the needs and interests of children in the Muslim community.
At the same time a call was made to Kenya Law Reform Commission to include Muslim representation in the commission to take care of Muslim interests in law reform process.
These were among a raft of proposals made during a stakeholders meeting held on Saturday at Jamia Mosque Majlis conference hall where participants said the amendments and radical reforms were needed to see to it that justice reaches the most vulnerable members of the society.
The Muslim leaders during the consultative meeting said personal status in the Kadhi’s Act needs to be expanded to give Kadhis more roles in children matters stating that the move will enhance on service delivery.
The leaders further called on the Muslim leadership, National Assembly, Attorney General and Judiciary to spearhead the amendments process to allow Kadhi’s courts to handle children cases in the Muslim community.
Among the sections in the children Act the leaders called for amendments are section 74(2),(4) to give Kadhi Courts powers to handle children issues and section 84 to facilitate the inclusion of Kafalah as an alternative care option for children deprived of a family environment .
The leaders led by Deputy Chief Kadhi Sheikh Rashid Omar pointed out that child adoption was not allowed in Islam hence the need to include Kafalah in the children Act.
They said that lack of legislative framework was hindering the roles of Kadhis especially in matters pertaining to custody and maintenance of Children in the Muslim community.
He called for the review and amendments of the current Kadhi’s Act to empower the Kadhi’s courts to raise its status and effectively serve the Muslim community.
As per now Kadhi’s courts deals with civil matters such as marriage, divorce and inheritance where the parties are Muslims
Sheikh Rashid decried that justice for children in the Muslim community is not effectively dispensed by the Kadhi’s courts as the function and matters pertaining to the welfare and children rights are being handle by conventional system of justice or children’s courts hence the need for Kadhi’s courts to be allowed to handle children’s cases.
Kadhi Rashid further called for the establishment and formation of Jurisprudence caucus consisting of Muslim Ulamaas (scholars) to work, liaise with Kadhis and assist them to undertake their roles effectively.
On his part a member of Jamia Mosque Committee Sheikh Ibrahim Lethome noted that Muslims need to be proactive in matters pertaining to legislative in order to be acquainted with laws that are of benefit and those that could affect their welfare and interests instead of staying in ignorance.
Kakuma Kadhi Sheikh Abdulaziz Tito Kunyuk said Kadhis should be recognized and allowed to play key role in children issues in the Muslim community.