By PETER KOMBE
The Kenya Muslim National Advisory Council has urged the government to allocate a special kitty to cushion Imams during this period the country is grappling with the corona pandemic.
According to the council’s chair Sheikh Juma Ngao the kitty will enable Imams to open up businesses for their upkeep.
Speaking to the media in Mombasa on Saturday the cleric pointed that most of them have been rendered jobless by the pandemic with no stable source of income.
“Allocate funds for imams. We know that there is over sh300billion for combating the pandemic, he noted.
The KEMNAC chair further urged Muslim youths to avoid engaging in crime related activities adding that Islam being a peaceful religion forbids such acts.
The council according to Ngao has also kick started an Imam training dubbed “Training of trainers” that targets over 40 mosques within Mombasa county.
The training, Ngao says, is meant to equip Imams and Sheikhs with adequate knowledge as the government prepares to open places of worship.
“This program will also be rolled out in other counties such as Kwale and Kilifi. In this training imams will be trained on how to combat the spread of the corona pandemic,” he noted.
He also warned against chipping in politics in mosques.
On the issue of the Standard Gauge Railway, The KEMNAC chair appealed to President Uhuru Kenyatta to revoke the directive that requires all cargo be transported through the SGR.
He indicates that the directive has not only paralyzed businesses in the coastal region but also impoverished Coast residents.
“Crime rate has escalated. There is no more business here. Residents in this region are trying in vain to pay the Chinese debt which constitutionally should not be the case,” he claimed.
He says KEMNAC and SUPKEM are in the process of developing guidelines in line with both the World Health Organization and the government to be followed in mosques as the government prepares to open them.
According to him, these guidelines include among others; putting on face masks during prayers, carrying shoes in personal bags, taking of body temperature and sanitizing mosques.
Meanwhile, KEMNAC Chief Advisor Juma Omar Abdulrazak called on the government to carry out intensive research by investigating the operations of all Muslim councils throughout the country.
He claims that some councils have been misappropriating donor funds and cannot even account for it.
“Some of these councils have been receiving money from donors. Government look into this,” he said.
The cleric wants the government to investigate graft allegations engulfing some of the Muslim related councils.
At the same time, KEMNAC Education Director Hafidh Muhsin decried an upsurge in teenage pregnancies in the Coast region.
He called on parents to track the actions of their children
“The statistics of teenage girls impregnated is two times that of the coronavirus. Shall we set maternity wards or quarantine centres? He quizzed,”
Muhsin asked parents to actively play their parental obligations.
He also urged the government to close all online sites with harmful content saying it has immensely contributed to the upsurge.
“Parents engage your children. Observe discipline in you by maintaining privacy,” he insisted.
Meanwhile, Sheikh Abu Hudheifa Juma Ali an imam hailing from Mshomoroni in Kisauni Sub County said imams and sheikhs are the most affected by COVID19.
He says most of them have been rendered jobless by the pandemic.
“We do not have any wages. There are no jobs for the imams. This fund will assist imams during this period,” the cleric said.