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Lobby warns rebels following polls, new officials take office

By PATRICK BEJA and Tobias Chanji | January 19th 2015 at 00:00:00 GMT +0300

The Council of Imams and Preachers of Kenya's (CIPK) national leadership has said it will ignore criticism over the alleged bias in last week's branch elections and will forge ahead with its programmes.

CIPK's first ever elections since its formation in 1997 have sparked a wave of political division within the lobby group for imams and preachers. The sharpest division has pitted the national office in Mombasa against vocal officials in the South Coast who were swept away in polls they boycotted.

Radical Muslims

Meanwhile, newly elected officials of the South Coast branch took office yesterday, saying they are in office legally but also admitted that most imams were afraid to vie in last Tuesday's poll fearing attacks from radical Muslims opposed to the organisation.

Beginning late 2013, radical Muslim youth drove out CIPK allied imams from key mosques in Mombasa forcing most officials to go underground, after accusing them of hypocrisy and being traitors of the Muslim cause.

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In mid-June last year, CIPK National Chairman Sheikh Mohamed Idris was gunned down in the Likoni slum of Mombasa.

Although the late Idris remained largely neutral in national politics in his last days, top officials at the CIPK headquarters identify with the Jubilee government.

Disputed polls

The ousted officials in last week's disputed polls are however, allied to the Opposition.

Council of Imams and Preachers of Kenya election
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