Trouble is brewing at the Supreme Council of Kenyan Muslims (Supkem) with a section of members expressing misgivings with chairman Yusuf Nzibo and his management style.
Five coastal counties have written to the council’s top organ, the National Executive Committee (NEC), demanding a Special General Meeting (SGM) to discuss what they say is a leadership crisis.
The five are Mombasa, Kilifi, Lamu, Taita Taveta and Kwale.
In their notices, each of the five counties demand that Mr Nzibo call the SGM within 21 days, subject to the council’s constitution and all other enabling regulations.
“On behalf of Coast region counties, I forward their demand for a special general meeting preferably in the first week of December,” says Supkem’s Coast provincial chairman Muhdhar Shariff Khitamy.
In the letter dated October 29, addressed to Mr Nzibo and copied to the Registrar of Societies, Mr Khitamy says the decision was reached on October 20 at a meeting that took place in his office.
“Highlighting various issues of the council, it was agreed that the only alternative is to demand fan SGM to address the leadership crisis for the interest of the council and the Muslim community at large."
However, Dr Nzibo said those pushing for the SGM are the same people pushing for Supkem's downfall and warned that he will not tolerate blackmail.
“They are the same people we defeated in the polls. I declare that I cannot live by blackmail,” he told the Nation on Thursday.
He said that for an SGM to be held, a meeting of the NEC must take place and that he and the secretary-general were in the process of planning this.
“Supkem is struggling to get funds; we have no money to hold an SGM. Those pushing for it must explain what it is that they want," he said, adding the five counties have neither visited the council’s headquarters nor submitted any report to the headquarters.
“They are questioning my management style but what have I done? This is blackmail. Let them know I have a career."
Rule 14.2 of the Supkem constitution provides that the chairman may call an SGM for a specific purpose after consultation with the NEC.
In particular, the five are relying on rule 14.2 (iii) which states that an SGM may be requisitioned by a Supkem county council for a specific purpose stated in writing addressed to the chairman and approved by the relevant regional committee.
The claim of a leadership comes as a surprise as Dr Nzibo, a former IEBC Commissioner, was elected in October 2017 for a five-year term, on the promise of restoring the organisation's good image.
The poll was the first successful elections in 16 years. Previous attempts to hold elections were frustrated through court battles by some of the organization's top officials or through their proxies.
Those elected Dr Nzibo were Mohamed Adan Mahat (Secretary general), Abdullatif Salat (National Organising Secretary), Feisal Al Amoudy (director of Religious Affairs), Abdullatif Shaaban (director general) and Abubakar Chemaswet (Treasurer).