Muslims push government to address teething social problems

 

Muslim faithfuls hold prayers to celebrate Eid ul Fitr at Tononoka Grounds in Mombasa County on Wednesday 10th April 2024. [Kelvin Karani, Standard]

Teething problems facing the country featured prominently as thousands of Muslims across the country gathered to mark Eid Fitr prayers.

This came as fanfare, sharing and caring dominated the celebrations as families prepared traditional delicious meals and shared with the less fortunate in society.

But the ongoing doctors' strike, road accidents, human rights abuse, high cost of living and controversies around the fake fertiliser featured in speeches across mosques and open grounds where prayers were conducted.

Leaders who attended the prayers yesterday also waded into the woes facing Kenyans and appealed to the government to address the concerns.

In Mombasa, Chief Kadhi Sheikh Abdulhakim Athman Hussein praised the Kenyan Muslim fraternity for being steadfast in their resolve to uphold the right to observe the Holy month of Ramadhan.

Speaking at the Ronald Ngala Primary School in Mombasa during special Idd Ul Fitr prayers yesterday, the chief kadhi said Muslims had exhibited full cooperation during the holy month.

''We are in very difficult times. But your resolve and cooperation made us all succeed in ensuring we fulfill our obligation during the Holy month of Ramadhan,'' he said.

Separately, former Mombasa governor Hassan Joho appealed to the government to end the doctors' strike saying the disruption of healthcare in public hospitals has caused untold suffering.

"Majority of Kenyans are suffering as a result of the doctors' strike but they do not have a voice. I am urging the government to sit down with the striking doctors, resolve outstanding issues, and let health services resume in public hospitals," he said, after attending Eid prayers at Ummy Kulthum mosque ground.

Governor Abdulswamad Nassir also commended Muslims for having observed the holy month in a peaceful manner and wished them a happy Eid.

Nassir who was among hundreds of faithful at Ronald Ngala grounds yesterday called on parents to be vigilant with their children, especially during the school holidays.

In Mt Kenya region, the Muslim faithful urged the government to resole ongoing doctors' strike. Hundreds of Muslim faithful gathered at Nyeri DEB Muslim Primary School to celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr.

They expressed concerns about prolonged absence of healthcare services, particularly during these challenging times.

Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims Mt Kenya region chairman Sheikh Abdul Majid Uledi urged all parties involved to engage in productive dialogue and find a solution.

"Healthcare is a basic human right, and the absence of crucial medical services can have dire consequences. With the strike leading to a severe shortage of doctors and medical staff, the consequences are far-reaching and affecting countless lives,” he said.

He added that doctors should not ask for more than what the government can provide, considering there are other expenditures. “It is important for doctors to prioritise their needs while considering the government's financial capabilities,” he said.

Abdul Latiff, the Director General of SUPKEM, urged drivers to be vigilant to prevent road accidents.

"Drivers should obey traffic laws, avoid distractions such as mobile phone use, maintain a safe distance from other vehicles, use turn signals to indicate intentions, avoid aggressive driving behaviors, stay alert, and be well-rested to minimise the impact of fatigue," he said.

In Western, Kenya Muslims National Advisory Council (KEMNAC), national organising secretary, Ustadh Shivachi Hamis urged President William Ruto to address the doctors' strike.

"Let President Ruto himself call a meeting with the doctors and agree on the way forward," said Mr Shivachi. 

In Migori County, Muslims converged at different mosques. The Muslim community pleaded with doctors to go back to work and alleviate the suffering of Kenyans.

“When doctors are on strike, it is Kenyans who are suffering. Remember those are your mothers, fathers and sisters,” said Omar Hussein from Migori Muslim Development Committee.

In Rift Valley, Imam Ismail Bono Hajir of the Jamia Muslim Mosque in Kitale town, called for unity. "We must come together and assist those unable to help themselves. Widows, orphans and others facing hardship require our support, whether it be food aid, financial assistance, or simply a helping hand," Hajir Said. 

[Report by Philip Mwakio, Patrick Beja, Anne Atieno, Martin Ndiema, Amos Kiarie and Nathan Ochunge]

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