Concerns Raised Over Alleged Vow to Enforce Islamic Law in Kenya

Raila Odinga, the current frontrunner in the upcoming presidential election in Kenya, has promised to implement strict Islamic Sharia law if he receives the Muslim vote in the predominantly Christian country and is elected president.

A memorandum of understanding (MOU) – signed on Aug. 29 by Sheikh Abdullahi Abdi, chairman of the National Leaders Forum (Namlef), and Odinga, presidential candidate from the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) – was made public on Nov. 27.

According to International Christian Concern (ICC), however, there are in fact two versions of the MOU. The persecution watchdog group claims that Abdi and Odinga signed a private MOU which is very different from the one presented to the public.

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In the secret version of the MOU, Odinga allegedly states his intention to, "within six months, rewrite the Constitution of Kenya to recognize Sharia as the only true law sanctioned by the Holy Quran for Muslim declared regions" if elected, according to ICC.

Odinga is currently seen as the favorite for the election which takes place on Dec. 27.

In response to the revelations, the Evangelical Alliance of Kenya released a statement in which church leaders said Raila, in both MOUs, "comes across as a presumptive Muslim president bent on forcing Islamic law, religion and culture down the throats of the Kenyan people in total disregard of the Constitutionally guaranteed rights of freedom of worship and equal protection of the law for all Kenyans."

The chairman of the Evangelical Alliance of Kenya, the Rev. Dr. Wellington Mutiso told ICC: "Kenya should continue to be a secular state. Christians want a level playing ground where [Christians and Muslims] are treated equally."

"We (Kenyan Christians) are opposed to any move at favoring a particular religious group by political parties," he added.

Similarly, the ICC regional manager for Africa, Darara Gubo, said the agreement made with Muslim leaders "undermines the secular nature of Kenya and opens a Pandora's box of chaos and conflict similar to what happened in Nigeria and Sudan."

"This is not a stand-alone incident; rather, it is part of strategy to Islamize Eastern Africa and the Horn of Africa, through the introduction of Sharia law," Gubo stated.

According to the CIA World Factbook, 45 percent of Kenyans claim to be Protestant, 33 percent claim to be Roman Catholic, and 10 percent claim to be Muslim while 10 percent adheres to indigenous beliefs. Estimates for the percentage of the population that adheres to Islam or indigenous beliefs vary widely, however.

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