Kenya revises Wakf Commissioners Act of Kenya 1951

The Wakf Commissioners Act of Kenya 1951 should be repealed and replaced with a new law that would conform to the current Constitution, a Task Force has recommended.

The ten-member Task Force appointed by the Attorney General (AG), Prof. Githu Muigai in October 2016 to review the Act said the law was established in the colonial era and no longer conformed to the current times and it exhibited some inconsistencies with the current Constitution of Kenya.

Wakf is a permanent dedication of movable or immovable properties for religious, pious or charitable purposes as recognized by Muslim Law, given by philanthropists. The grant is known as mushrut-ul-khidmat, while a person making such dedication is known as Wakf.

The current Wakf Commissioners Act 1951 is an old law that is incapable of serving the current Muslim Ummah well. It is not aligned to the current Constitution and has within it, terms and titles that are against the spirit of the Kenyan Constitution, says the report in part.

While presenting the report to the AG in Nairobi on Friday, the Chairman of the Task Force, Prof. Hamadi Iddi Boga said the findings and recommendations in the report were arrived at after wide consultation and involvement of the Muslim community in Kenya.

He added that the Task Force went further to compare the institutional frameworks of Wakf Administration in selected countries regionally such as Tanzania and Zanzibar, and internationally such as Malaysia and United Arab Emirates.

Prof. Hamadi said in addition to recommending change of terms like the use of ‘Wakf’ to ‘Waqf’, the report presented details about the proposed Wakf Policy, suggesting innovative ways in which to administer the Wakf assets beyond the traditional approach which has for long driven Wakf administration under the current Wakf law of Kenya.

The Chairman noted that the new Wakf Act would not only seek to benefit the Muslim community but would assist all because the Task Force included a non-Muslim in the team.

Wakf being the greatest source of charity devoted for the overall development of the Muslim society aims at maintaining various Islamic and social organizations as well as assisting poor individuals and resulting in a significant reduction of poverty.

The AG affirmed the Government of Kenya’s mandate of ensuring that all Kenyans are well facilitated by the Constitution so as to live accordingly, by practicing what was required by each and everyone’s religion.

He noted that it was important for the Wakf Commissioners Act of Kenya 1951 to be revised so as to align with the Constitution and do away with earlier rules set for the colonial rule, hence not favorable to the current Muslim community.

The AG said he looked forward to a new Act that would accord Muslims easier management of estates of their departed.

I will forward the revised Wakf Act to Parliament to be discussed and I am very hopeful it will be gazetted, said the A.G.

Members of the task force, included Juma Ngao, Zubeir Noor, and Professor Saad Yahya, Sheikh Ibrahim Lethome, Manakitina Bakari, Dr. Abdallah Kheir, the Chief Kadhi and two joint secretaries from Attorney General’s Office.

Source: Kenya News Agency