Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims (SUPKEM) is the umbrella body of all the Muslim Organizations, Societies, Mosques Committees and Groups in Kenya. The members of the Council are these Organizations, Societies, Committees and groups affiliated to it and not individual Muslims. The population of Kenya is 30 million (thirty million). The Muslims constitute thirty percent. This translates to 10 million (ten million) Muslims.
WHY WAS SUPKEM FORMED?
Muslims in Kenya as in any part of the world have different local problems and needs. To solve these problems, Groups, Committees, Societies and Organizations are formed. Each of these Organizations aims at improving the life of its members; and by life it means the short life on the surface of the earth (Dun’ya) and the eternal life hereafter (Akhera).
These Organizations may be approaching the same issues and problems in uncoordinated ways and may be duplicating them. Efforts to bring about the coordination of these activities and common approach to issues and problems led to the idea of the formation of Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims. The council was formed with a clear vision of a united and therefore strong Muslim Community in the country. A community to be recognized in the country.
A community whose contributions in national development would not only be enhanced through unity but would also not be taken for granted. A community with clear, strong and established links with the Kenya Government and with the outside world.
The Muslims had been discussing the idea and by the Grace of Allah, the idea was strengthened by the visit of Almarhum Sheikh Muhammad Mahmoud Asswawaaf who was sent from Saudi Arabia by the late king Faisal bin Abdulaziz Al-Soudy (Rahmatullah aleihi) who helped to form such Supreme bodies in quite a number of African Countries. The Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims (SUPKEM) was formed in May 1973 following the holding of a General Conference at Qur ‘an house, Mfangano Street, Nairobi Kenya.
The Council was formed with a clear vision of a united and therefore, strong Muslim community in the country. A community whose contributions in national development would be approached and recognized through unity of purpose. A community with clear, strong and established links with the Kenya government and with other local and international Development partners.
THE GOAL OF THE COUNCIL
To carry out and discharge in every way possible the obligations, duties and responsibilities Muslims owe as a Community to Islam and bring about thespirit of brotherhood, unity among Muslims in Kenya.
THE MAIN OBJECTIVES OF THE COUNCIL
The main objectives of SUPKEM are;
i. To promote the growth of united efforts by its member organizations in all matters beneficial to the progress of Islam and the Muslim Ummah,
ii. To facilitate corporation and collaboration between member Organizations in their programs of activities and to serve as agents for conciliations in the event of disputes or misunderstandings arising between any of the Organizations, whenever called upon,
iii. To provide a single channel of communication with outside world and with the Government of Kenya on any matter touching on the FAITH, INTEGRITY and the GENERAL WELFARE of Muslims,
iv. To refrain from being partisan, that is taking sides in political wrangles BUT to stand firm on political issues which have direct or indirect effect on the Muslim Ummah,
v. To act as a coordinator, advisor and spokesman for all Muslim Organizations in Kenya so as to provide a UNITED STAND,
vi. To set up and establish Islamic projects such as education Institutions which could offer both secular and Islamic studies to the Muslim youth.
The Council’s activities are run from its secretariat in Nairobi with staff who implement the decisions of the National Executive Committee that is elected at the Annual General Meeting. The Executive Committee exercises its mandate and nominates some deserving Muslims to run several directorates and to sit on the Executive Committee.
All the members of the Executive Committee volunteer their time and therefore are not paid for their services. The paid up Secretariat is very small due to the financial constraints and this is the biggest drawback. Most of the work is done by members of the Executive Committee on voluntary basis during their spare time.
THE STRENGTH OF THE COUNCIL
The Council has Executive Committee Members who work purely on voluntary basis. This to a greater extend has enabled the Council to make some progress as building its capacity at the grass roots level.
THE COUNCILS ACHIEVEMENTS
1) Through collaboration and cooperation with its member Organizations and with the assistance from well wishing international donors especially the Islamic Development Bank (1DB), the Council has initiated development projects on behalf of the Community
Among this projects and programs are;
- Kenya Muslim Academy which is providing the much needed Islamic environment and opportunity for Muslim boys to pursue the secondary education (the school was put up by I.D.B and the Mosque by Africa Muslim Agency).
- The Maragua Muslim Girls Secondary School build by I.D.B. This is a recent program for the Muslim Girls to study and live under Islamic environment. This project needs a lot of support from donors.
- A bursary program under which money is disbursed annually to deserving Muslim students studying in secondary schools.
- Administration of the I.D.B Scholarship programme which has seen about 140 young Muslim men and women train as Doctors and Engineers in Turkish Universities. Most of these students have come back and are gainfully employed to the benefit of the Community and the nation at large.
- Kendu Young Secondary school in Kendu Bay – providing secular and Islamic studies to Muslim boys and girls/and is open to non- muslim students.
2) The Council in its capacity as the Umbrella Organization negotiated with the Government of Kenya and secured.
• The registration of the Islamic Teachers Training College
• The resolution of the land issue for Islamic Institutions
• The facilitation of the Kadhis Court.
3) The Council has mobilized and advised the Muslim members of Parliament (MPs) by arranging seminars to prepare them whenever BILLS of particular interest to Muslims are being debated in the parliament.
IMPLEMENTATION OF GOVERNMENT FUNDED PROGRAMMES
The Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims in collaboration with the Kenya Government and in Partnership with donor Communities was involved in the implementation of the following programmes;
- The National Civic Education Program (NCEP) funded by Like minded Donors (LiMid) between June 2001 andJune 2002
- The Kenya Domestic Observation Program (K-DOP) also funded by LiMid that observed events leading up to and including the General Elections of 29th December 2002
- National situational analysis and KAPB study on HIV/AIDS among Muslim populations countrywide funded by the National Aids Control Council between November 2002 and January 2004.
- The First Muslim Leaders Consultative Conference on HIV/AIDS held at the Reef Hotel, Mombasa in October 2003 with Action-Aid Kenya.
- A Thematic Workshop on Muslim HIV/AIDS Policy at the Reef Hotel Mombasa in April 2004 with funding from Action-Aid Kenya.
- Family Health International Madrássa and Imams’ Curriculum
- Civic education towards referendum on Constitution Review Process
CHALLENGES FACING MUSLIMS
To realize real unity of the Community
To mobilize the community to support its visions and programs
To effectively function as the legitimate mouth piece of the community on National and International issues.
To impact upon the Government and other institutions to realize that Muslims are indeed what they are, about one third of the Kenyan population.
APPEAL TO WELL WISHERS
SUPKEM is run by volunteers in their spare time and using secretarial services from their places of work or from well wishers. For SUPKEM to effectively execute its intended objectives and goals it requires:
- A strong fully paid up administrative Secretariat whose budget is Kshs. 1,000,000 per month.
- An endowment (Trust or Waqf) so that the Council can be assured of a standing income.
- Independent media facilities to include print, radio and T.V.
- Hospital and funding for construction of the proposed offices as per photograph.
In spite of all the short comings and problems SUPKEM is facing, by the UNLIMITED GRACE OF ALMIGHTY ALLAH (SWT) it has made an impact on the Government and outsiders both friendly and hostile to Islam, and SUPKEM is working very hard to establish the recognition of the Muslim Ummah in Kenya and beyond.
P.O.BOX 45163- 00100,
Moktar Daddah Street /Njugu Lane Nairobi.
This piece is taken from the website of the Jamia Masjid Nairobi.
See on-line at: http://www.islamkenya.com/html/supkem.html