Tight security in Mombasa ahead of MRC ruling
Posted Wednesday, July 25 2012 at 09:46
A large contingent of anti-riot police has been deployed in Mombasa town ahead of a High Court ruling on the proscribed Mombasa Republican Council.
The police have kept vigil outside the Mombasa Law Courts where three High Court judges John Mwera, Mary Kasango and Francis Tuiyott are set to give the landmark verdict Wednesday.
Armed with guns and teargas canisters, the policemen – some of them tagging sniffer dogs along - kept a close eye on hundreds of MRC supporters trooping to the courts since morning to hear the verdict.
Everyone entering the court premises is being subjected to thorough and mandatory screening at the entrance to the High Court.
The case in which MRC is challenging its proscription by the government two years ago is one of the two the group has filed against the State.
In the second case, still pending in court, the group wants Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) barred from conducting election-related activities in the region pending a court ruling on its request to have a referendum conducted at the Coast on whether the region should secede from Kenya.
Threat to national security
Justices Mwera, Kasango and Tuiyott settled on Wednesday's ruling after hearing heated submissions by the government, which defended its move to proscribe the group terming MRC a threat to national security.
MRC on the other hand maintained that the government relied on insufficient and unsupported evidence and allegations in proscribing them.
MRC members Messrs Randu Ruwa, Robert Tukwatukwa and Nyae Ngao moved to court in 2010 challenging a gazette notice proscribing their group and want the court to prohibit the Internal Security minister from interfering with their lawful activities.
They also want the court to issue directions that will enforce the proper administration of justice in regard to their rights, which they claim have been violated.
In 2010, the minister and the Attorney General declared the MRC among 32 other groups as illegal and warned the public against dealing with them.
During the submissions, State counsel Emmanuel Bitta said that MRC’s slogan ‘Pwani si Kenya’ and its agenda were detrimental to the territorial integrity of the country, hence the Internal Security minister was right to outlaw the group.
“When a state officer makes a public policy decision, it does not go against the Constitution. So the minister was right to ensure the principles are observed as well to safeguard the interests of the country,” he said.
"Patriotism and national security are being questioned by MRC in their rallying call since they do not recognise Kenya as a state. So the minister was mandated to act the way he did.”
Further, he said that MRC was discriminating by stating that it did not recognise outsiders.
“You cannot be called a stranger in your own country. It is disrespectful,” he said.