By The Weekly Vision Team
High Court Judge Wandara J.R. Anuro has ordered the warring factions of the Registered Trustees Muslim Association Mosque Committee in Eldoret to reconcile and put aside their differences in a judgment dated December 1, 2023. The judge ruled, “Considering that the dispute was in regard to the internal affairs and management of a religious institution (the mosque community), to create a conducive environment for reconciliation and harmony.”.
Jamal Diriwo Omari had sued officials of the mosques, the Registered Trustees Muslim Association Mosque Committee Eldoret, Mahmud Jama, Mohamed Ali, Mohamed Hajj Isaack, Idris Salim Keitany, Swaleh Chepkeitany, Mohamed Ghani, Abdulai Jama, and Abdi Omar, making several allegations against the management. In an affidavit, Omari averred that the association draws membership from the Muslims within and without Eldoret, Uasin Gishu County, where the above-named persons are committee members of the association and the registered Trustees thereof.
He alleged that the committee members have jointly and severally breached the Constitution and the Rules and Regulations of the Association by betraying the trust bestowed upon them by the Constitution regarding managing the properties of the Association. He further claimed that whereas the aims and objectives of the association are to protect and safeguard the welfare, rights, privileges, and interests of Muslim communities of all races in every possible manner, the committee members have failed, ignored, refused, and/or declined to re-register the association with the Registrar of Societies, whereas its term has since expired or lapsed, and hence the association is on the verge of extinction or death.
Further, he claimed that the committee members have misappropriated the properties, finances, funds, and/or wealth and/or failed to account for the same, which are property of the Muslim community and, as such, should be properly accounted for to benefit the poor, orphans, widows, and paying salaries of imams and madrassa teachers within all the surrounding mosques and the Muslim community at large.
In his testimony, he alleged that the association’s properties had been illegally transferred without any accountability or involvement of the members of the association or the Muslim community at large and that they have never carried out any audit of the financial books or records whatsoever, and as such, the affairs of the association are managed in blatant breach of its Constitution and Rules and Regulations.
It is also alleged that the committee members have never conducted any elections whatsoever, and members have been denied the right to vote and elect office-bearers as provided in the Constitution, Regulations, and Rules. They have never carried out any general meeting and/or annual general meeting of the association for purposes of receiving and passing of annual audited accounts and balance sheets and for the election of office bearers and the full committee for the ensuing two years.
Further, the committee members have, in blatant disobedience of the Constitution of the Association, leased out shops and erected structures within the compound of the Eldoret Jamia Mosque. A witness in support of Omari also testified that the association was registered in 1957; in 1990, the committee members took over through an illegal election; since then, there has been no election; they have mismanaged the properties of the association and distributed them among themselves and refused to give information.
In 2005, they refused to renew the registration certificate; in 2011, the association was deregistered; in 2021, he wrote to the Attorney General asking if the official office bearers still existed on record; he did not receive a response, so he wrote to the Ombudsman. After his complaint, the respondents registered a new entity under a new name: the Muslim Association Mosque Committee. The original name, as of 1957, was “Muslim Association Mosque Committee, Eldoret.”.