Calls for peaceful campaigns and political tolerance ahead of the August 9 General Election dominated Idd-ul-Fitr celebrations in the North Rift, as Muslim faithful marked the end of the holy month of Ramadhan.
In Kitale, Trans Nzoia County, imams called for political tolerance.
"We urge our politicians to be peaceful as they move around campaigning, let them not incite people," Imam Mohamed Diko said.
He, however, urged political leaders in the region not to give Muslims food but to empower them by giving them jobs and proper representation in the national and county governments.
"As Muslims, we will only support someone who understands our problems, not those just seeking our votes. If we do not have an MCA, MP, senator or any other positions in the county, then how are we being represented," he said.
Former Rift Valley Regional Commissioner George Natembeya, who joined Muslims at Jamia Mosque and Pangani, promised to ensure that their grievances are addressed.
"I know the problems facing the Muslim community in Trans Nzoia and if elected, I will make sure they are part of my government," he said.
They also raised the issue of lack of identification cards as a major challenge, which they said, prompts young men to join criminal activities.
Calls for peaceful campaigns were also made by Sheikh Mohamed Hussein, the imam of Jamia Mosque in Eldoret where hundreds of Muslim faithful gathered.
“I want to appeal to everyone to maintain peace. We are all Kenyans and politics should not divide us since it is a one-day event,” he said.
Deputy Governor Daniel Chemno asked Kenyans to maintain peace.
“We face a lot of challenges such as drug and substance use, poverty and crime that call for us to work together to resolve them. We also want to urge everyone to preach peace,” said Mr Chemno.
In Bungoma, residents and political leaders were urged to shun retrogressive politics ahead of the August elections.
Imam Maalim Abubakar, speaking at the Webuye Jumia Mosque, said political temperatures were high in the country and urgent prayers were need.
"We are praying for our country during this political season that God may give us peace, love and unity through the politics of unity," he said.
He asked Kenyans to pray for President Uhuru Kenyatta to finish his term peacefully and hand over power to the next President smoothly.
In the Coast, Muslims thronged various worshiping places to celebrate Idd-ul-Fitr amid tight security.
Chief Kadhi Ahmed Muhdhar and his predecessor Hamad Kassim led the morning prayers at the Ronald Ngala grounds in Mombasa as they called for peace.
Muslim faithful also gathered at the famed Masjeed Um-Khultum and Tononoka grounds for morning prayers
Speaking after the Idd prayers, Sheikh Kassim called for religious tolerance and peaceful coexistence among Muslims.
"Let us maintain peace the way we are doing it here during prayers," he said.
Sheikh Kassim also called on the Muslim community to remain united during Idd prayers.
"Why should we pray together and maintain unity all the time only to be divided at the end of holy month of Ramadhan? We should not allow this to happen," he said.
For the first time in many years, Muslims across the country celebrated Idd-ul-Fitr on the same day. Last year, Muslims in Kenya were divided on the moon sighting, leading to a section celebrating it on a different day.
Sheikh Kassim said the Muslim faithful need to speak in one voice to ensure uniformity in marking Ramadhan and during Idd prayers.
“The religion has united us as one people, but it is disappointing that at times, we are divided. I thank God that we are today united in marking Idd,” he said.
But as the Muslims throng various places of worship to celebrate Idd, traders complained about low business due to the high cost of living.
Abdisheikh Mbarak, who sells goats at the Kikowani sheep market, said a few people came forward to buy the animals.
"Last year, I sold more than 500 goats but this year, I have only sold 240," he told Nation.Africa.
At the market, the prices ranged between Sh4,000 and Sh18,000. Mr Mbarak said the high cost of living has made many Muslims to shy away from spending money on certain food items.
"I would be done by now but because only a handful of people are coming to buy, I am still here waiting for customers," he said. Most of the goats come from Kwale County.
"The goats that I used to buy at Sh2,000 now cost more than Sh3,000, so I have to sell it for at least Sh4,000 to make a profit," he said.
Salim Shauri, a trader at the Marikiti market, said the high cost of living has affected business, especially for those selling non-food items.
"People are not coming to buy clothes. They are more concerned about what they will eat," he said. Mr Shauri sells clothes, especially Muslim wear (kanzu).
On Sunday evening, Sheikh Muhdhar announced that Monday, May 2, would be the day to celebrate Idd-ul-Fitr after a crescent moon, which signifies the end of Ramadhan, was sighted in different parts of the country.
The moon was sighted in Witu, Tchundwa, and Kipini in Lamu County.
Muslim leaders, led by governors Hassan Joho (Mombasa), Salim Mvurya (Kwale) and Amason Kingi (Kilifi) wished all the faithful Idd Mubarak.
“Let us show forgiveness and speak for justice. Those who are able should help the poor to ensure that all celebrate. Let us observe peace ahead of the polls,” Mr Mvurya said.
Abuhureira Academy Principal Salim Ali, who spoke when he visited Tabarak children’s home, urged Muslims to help the less fortunate.
Other politicians, including Mombasa businessman Sulieman Shahbal, Mvita MP Abdulswamad Shariff, Senator Mohamed Faki and Jomvu MP Badi Twalib asked Kenyans to maintain peace ahead of the polls.
“We are entering an electioneering period. I ask for peaceful campaigns and polls. Let us vote for leaders who will bring change in the society,” Mr Shahbal said
Security was also beefed up on the Coast, with police officers patrolling several areas including recreational facilities such as beaches and the Mama Ngina Waterfront.
Coast Regional Commissioner John Elungata said security had been beefed up in all key public places.
Mr Elungata called on Kenyans to use the event to show love for one another.
He said the entire Coast region, right from the Kenya-Somalia border towns of Ishakani and Kiunga in Lamu County, Tana River, and all the way to Shimoni, Vanga and Lungalunga in Kwale are well secured.
“The Coast region is secure. This is a time of fun and happiness for the Muslim faithful and Kenyans of other faiths,” said Mr Elungata.
In Lamu, County Commissioner, Irungu Macharia wished all the Muslim brothers and sisters Idd Mubarak.
Mr Macharia assured the faithful and citizens of their security and asked Muslim clerics across the county to preach peace.
Mr Macharia noted that security agents in volatile areas like Boni Forest and surrounding areas as well as all the Lamu roads are on high alert.
“There’s no cause for alarm and I wish our Muslim brothers and sisters happy Idd-ul-Fitr celebrations. Let’s spread the message of peace and unity,” said Mr Macharia.
Muslim faithful in Lamu Old Town, a Muslim hub in the region, started thronging various mosques as early as 4.30am on Monday for Idd prayers.
Muslim clerics commended the faithful and Kenyans for observing a peaceful Ramadhan.
Coast Interfaith Council of Clerics (CICC) Lamu branch chair Mohamed Abdulkadir also thanked security agents and other stakeholders for improving security in Lamu, the Coast, and Kenya as a whole.
“Let us continue this way in maintaining peace as we celebrate Idd-ul-Fitr. May the blessings of this day be accompanied by abundant happiness in our lives,” said Mr Abdulkadir.
Lamu West Sub-County Council of Imams and Preachers of Kenya (CIPK) chair Noordin Saney said the end of Ramadhan should not mark the end of doing good or the resumption of doing bad.
Said Khitamy, imam at Lamu’s Markaz Habib Swaleh Mosque, thanked the government for making Tuesday a public holiday.
The government last week declared Tuesday a public holiday to allow the Muslim faithful to celebrate Idd-ul-Fitr.
Though the event was celebrated on Monday, the Idd public holiday extends to Tuesday because the government usually gazettes Idd after 30 days of Ramadhan. In this year's case, Ramadhan ended after 29 days.
Reports by Stanley Kimuge, Gerald Bwisa and Brian Ojamaa, Brian Ocharo and Kalume Kazungu