SUPKEM, CIPK leaders fault government for politicizing Ramadan food donations

SUPKEM Mombasa Chair Athman Ali Akbar during a press briefing in Mombasa./COURTESY

Mombasa Muslim clerics have faulted the national government for allegedly using Ramadan food donations to gain political mileage in the county.

Speaking during a press briefing on Wednesday, the clerics, drawn from the Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims (SUPKEM) and the Council of Imams and Preachers of Kenya (CIPK), said distribution of the food should be done by the two bodies and not politicians.

“Every year during the holy month of Ramadan, the government provides food for needy Muslims who are fasting. This year, they have also done the same but we are told that the food will be distributed by politicians,” said SUPKEM Mombasa Chair, Athman Ali Akbar.

SUPKEM and CIPK say the food is usually distributed by the two bodies as they have all the necessary data on the mosques, orphans, and needy families in all sub-counties.

“We followed all due process and wrote a letter to the County Commissioner in January requesting for the food, and already had an agreement with the then County Commissioner but then the reshuffle happened. So when the new Commissioner came we did the same and sent our request again,” said Athman.

“We were at the County Commissioner’s office today to enquire but what he told us was that following orders from Cabinet Secretary Peninah Malonza, the food will only be released for distribution to Nyali Member of Parliament Mohammed Ali and Nominated Senator Miraj Abdillahi, both from Kenya Kwanza,” he added.

The Mombasa SUPKEM Chair added that the move was a show of disrespect to religious leaders, especially Muslim leaders.

His sentiments were echoed by CIPK Mombasa Organizing Secretary Sheikh Mahmoud Abdillahi who questioned the criteria in which politicians will distribute the food.

“We want the distribution to go back to SUPKEM and CIPK. What if you are in need but do not support Kenya Kwanza or the said politician, will I be denied food?” questioned Sheikh Mahmoud.

According to the leaders, it is only in Mombasa that the food distribution has been delayed and is being done by politicians.

“Other counties already received and have distributed the food. We want to tell the national government that if they decide to give the food to politicians then they should not expect us to take part in the distribution,” said Sheikh Mahmoud.

“We will only distribute the food when we get it directly from the County Commissioner,” he added.

Their complaints come even as Muslims continue with their fast.