By Mbarak Abucheri:
A task force appointed to review Wakf Commissioners Act has not been disbanded and will carry on with its mandate until it complete its work and period elapses.
A member of the commission Dr. Sheikh Abdallah Kheir affirmed that the review of the Wakf Commission Act of 1951 has not been derailed and that the task force is fully dedicated to undertaking the review process for the benefit of the general Muslim community in Kenya after its period was extended to August 2016.
The work of the task force was to come to an end on May 31.
He noted that members of the committee are working as a united team and the appointments of new Wakf Commissioners by the Attorney General Prof Githu Muigai has not in any way affected the function of the task force as the two are different entities performing different functions.
He told the Nepjournal that the newly appointed Wakf commissioners will undertake the administration of the wakf properties on behalf of the Muslims while the task force function is to review the Wakf commission Act to align it with the current constitution, international best practice and Islamic law to serve the best interests of the Muslims and the beneficiaries. .
Abdallah Kheir stated that the new appointments of Commissioners would boost and make the work of the task force easier as the two entities will partner and coordinate to make the review a success.
He pointed out that following the disbandment of the former Wakf Commissioners it was a challenge to access funds at the commission bank’s account to facilitate the activities of the task force for lack of signatories hence leading to the slow pace of the review process.
The former Kenyatta University Lecturer further said that the task force has done extensive outreach to key actors and met leaders of various Muslim organizations to voice their opinion about the issues wanted change in the Wakf Commission Act of 1951.
He disclosed that on May 24 the committee will be meeting the Umma University fraternity at Laico Hotel in Nairobi to deliberate on matters with regards to putting in place a new legal framework on the management and administration of Muslim endowment properties.
”Wakf plays an important role in the social welfare of Muslims hence the need to support the review process to ensure that it plays a more viable role to improve on the social welfare of the community,” Abdallah Kheri said.
Recently a member of the task force accused the Wakf Commission for interference and sabotage leading to the derail of the review process.
The member of the task force, Sheikh Juma Ngao, claimed powerful forces within and outside the commission have joined forces to halt their mission.
“We are fighting an endless war because of former and current commissioners who are against [reviewing] the Act. They have overseen massive mismanagement of properties meant for orphans and destitute members of the society,” claimed Sheikh Ngao.
The committee is yet to hold public hearings and meetings in various parts of the country to collect views with regards to putting in place a new legal framework on the management and administration of Muslim endowment properties.
Wakf Commissioner of Kenya administers Wakf properties and related matters set aside for charitable purposes in the Muslim community.
In October last year, Attorney-General Githu Muigai appointed a 10-member task force to align the 1951 Wakf Commissioners Act with the Constitution, giving it four months which come to an end this month on May 31 to undertake the review process.
Members of the task force appointed by then included Prof Hamadi Iddi Boga (Chairman),Sheikh Ibrahim Lethome, Sheikh Abdallah Kheir, Sheikh Juma Ngao, Zubeir Hussein Noor, Prof Saad Yahya, Dr Mwanakitini Bakari and the Chief Kadhi Sheikh Ahmed Muhdhar.
On April 28 the Attorney General Prof Githu Muigai appointed new Wakf Commissioners who include members of the task force.
Those appointed are Prof. Hamadi Iddi Boga, Juma Ngao, Zubeir Noor Hussein, Nagib Shamsan, Shariff Hussein Ahmed and Dr. Mwanakitini Bakari while the Chief Kadhi Sheikh Ahmed Muhdhar S. Hussein will be ex officio a member of the commission.
The current Wakf commission Act is based on laws enacted in the colonial era and on several occasions there have been calls from the Muslim community and its leadership to reform the Act that was enacted in 1951.