By Patrick beja
A new association of Imams (Muslim preachers) has been formed at the Coast with officials pledging to champion peace.
The Assembly for Muslim Imams and Scholars (Amis) leaders said in Mombasa last evening that they would preach peace at the Coast ahead of the General Election. Amis now rivals the Council of Imams and Preachers of Kenya (CIPK) headed by Nominated MP Sheikh Mohamed Dor.
A section of Imams claimed they had broken away from CIPK because there were allegedly no regular elections. They claimed CIPK had not conducted polls for the last 17 years.
Amis Chairman Sheikh Hassan Mohamed Shali said the new group would use a grassroots network to spread peace messages and ensure smooth polls at the Coast.
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“We are going to campaign for peace and ensure Coast has smooth elections even as we address the welfare of Imams,” said Shali.
On Tuesday, Shali denied claims the new outfit was being fronted by tycoons insisting their aim was to address the plight of Imams and Islamic scholars.
Speaking during the group’s launch at Tononoka Social Hall in Mombasa, Kenya Muslim National Advisory Council National Chairman Sheikh Juma Ngao said he would work with the new team of Imams.
At the same time, Ngao asked the group to convince members of the Mombasa Republican Council (MRC) to abandon their hard stand on secession and poll boycott.
Ngao said he had visited top MRC leaders in remand prison and they had pledged to abandon their stand against the polls.
He said he met MRC Chairman Omar Hamisi Mwamnwadzi, Secretary General Hamza Randu, and Spokesman Rashid Mohamed Mraja at Shimo La Tewa Prison last Friday and they expressed readiness to join peace campaigns.
“The MRC leaders are now ready to reach out to the Coast population on a peace mission, I had a discussion with them for one hour,” Ngao said.
The MRC leaders were remanded in custody when they failed to raise bond after being charged with incitement.
But CIPK national organising secretary Sheikh Mohamed Khalifa dismissed the group. “We have no time for that group,” he said.