Tanzania will review its decision to try to introduce ‘Kadhi’ courts into its legal system, the prime minister announced March 31 following tense discussions in Parliament.
‘Kadhi’ courts would allow Muslims to enforce marriage, divorce, inheritance and family rights in their community, and their verdicts would be recognised by Tanzanian courts. Tanzania’s President Jakaya Kikwete, a Muslim, said ‘Kadhi’ courts would adjudicate only Islamic-specific issues, would receive no state funding, and that secular courts would remain superior to them. Nonetheless, some Christian leaders say they would undermine the country’s secular state.
Tensions between Muslims and Christians are rising ahead of a constitutional referendum due at the end of April, said Kikwete, who warned religious leaders against political meddling, saying this could stoke violence. Tanzania’s population of 45 million is roughly evenly split between Muslims and Christians.