Nominate a Muslim to Riyadh mission, clerics urge Uhuru

Two prominent clerics have appealed to President Uhuru Kenyatta to reconsider his ambassador nominee to Saudi Arabia.

Jamia mosque Imam Muhammad Swalihu and chairman of Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims (SUPKEM) Yusuf Nzibo have urged President Kenyatta to drop Ambassador Peter Ogego, and instead choose a Muslim.

The clerics argue that a Muslim is better suited to serve Kenya’s best interests as an ambassador in the deeply religious country.

Mr Swalihu said a Muslim ambassador is better placed to handle Hajj affairs as there are important cities in Saudi Arabia where access is limited to Muslims.

“As things stand, this will cause a lot of complaints within the Muslim community,” he said in a letter addressed to Foreign Affairs Principal Secretary Macharia Kamau.

Mr Ogego, if approved by the National Assembly, will succeed Wajir County Governor Mohamed Abdi Mohamud, who served as Kenya’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia since 2014.

Mr Mohamud left the post to contest for Wajir governor’s seat in last year’s General Election on a Jubilee Party ticket.

Drawing parallels with the Vatican, the Imam said diplomatic postings made by several countries to Rome are mainly reserved for Catholics because of religious ties.

Mr Swalihu implored the President to consider Mr Ogego’s nomination on the same principle.

Mr Swalihu’s call received support from SUPKEM chairman, who said it was not in the best interest of the country to have non-Muslims holding the position of ambassador and deputy Ambassador in the Riyadh mission.

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