The battle for the Muslim vote on Thursday took centre stage when ODM presidential candidate Raila Odinga accused the Government of failing to protect the rights of Muslims.

Mr Odinga, in an open letter to President Kibaki, took issue with the President’s assertion last week that he did not know the names of the deported Kenyan Muslims.

During a tour to the Coast, President Kibaki told those who had approached him over the issue to give him information on those deported by this week.

In his letter, Mr Odinga names the 19 people who were deported to Somalia, Ethiopia and Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.

They are: Aden Sheikh Abdullah, Saidi Shifa, Salam Ngama, Bashir Hussein Chirag, Mohammed Sader, Said Hamisi Mohammed, Swaleh Ali Tunza, Hassan Shaban Mwazume, Hussein Ali Said, Tsuma Solomon Adam Ayila and Abdi Muhammed Abdillahi (deported to Mogadishu).

Others are: Salim Awadh Salim, Abdulrashid Mohamed, Nasru Tuko and Mohammed Said Mohammed (deported to Mogadishu and now in Ethiopia).

Those deported to Baidoa in Somalia and now in Ethiopia are: Kasim Musa Mwarusi, Ali Musa Mwarusi and Abdallah Halifan Tondwe while Mohamed Abdulmalik was deported to Guatanamo Bay.

In his letter, Mr Odinga says one week after the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights boss Maina Kiai received the report on the deportees, he forwarded it to Justice and Constitutional Affairs minister Martha Karua on July 13, together with a three-page letter.

“The report fully documents the arrests, the arbitrary detention, the deportation and disappearance of the 19 named Kenyans, along with 118 nationals from other African countries,” reads the letter.

Copied to ministers

Mr Kiai’s letter was also copied to Internal Security minister John Michuki, Attorney-General Amos Wako, Immigration minister Gideon Konchella, Foreign Affairs minister Raphael Tuju and Justice assistant minister Danson Mungatana.

It was also copied to the Parliamentary Committee on Administration and National Security chairman Paul Muite and Police Commissioner Hussein Ali.

In his letter, Mr Odinga claims that the Government had failed to act on Mr Kiai’s report.

The ODM presidential candidate dismissed the appointment of a special action committee by the Government to look into the deportations, saying the move was meant to divert attention from the issue.

Mr Odinga likened the committee to the Kiruki commission, which was formed to investigate the saga of the Armenian brothers.

The Kiruki report has never been released to the public

Mike Mwaniki