Coast MPs want group to end its call for secession
Posted Friday, July 27 2012 at 23:30
- Coast Parliamentary team says MRC can achieve its goals within a united Kenya
Coast MPs have welcomed the order lifting the ban on the Mombasa Republican Council but appealed to the group to drop its secession agenda.
The Coast Parliamentary Group, which brings together 23 MPs from the region, on Friday said MRC can achieve its objectives within a united Kenya and opposed its call to boycott the General election.
Group chairman Benedict Gunda said they supported MRC on its demands for rights in the region.
“In its demands to stop oppression and marginalisation, demands for land ownership, job opportunities, better education standards, resource management and fair distribution of revenue among others, we fully support them,” said Mr Gunda.
Three High Court judges, on Wednesday declared the ban on MRC unconstitutional but imposed restrictions on the group to operate within the law.
The court ruled that MRC is a political movement and can only achieve its objectives if registered as a political party. Secession, the court added, cannot happen without a referendum to change the Constitution first.
But MRC has maintained its secessionist stand and the plan to boycott elections.
Speaking in Kwale, chairman Omar Mwamnuadzi said MRC is not a party and should they engage in politics the movement will cease to exist.
“We are happy the tag of an outlawed group has been removed, we are people who want peace. What we are fighting for is justice for Coast,” said Mr Mwamnuadzi adding that their association with “Kenya” will only be in terms of trade.
Mr further said that engaging in violence will hurt women and children and MRC does not intend to chase anyone from the Coast.
MRC spokesman Mohamed Rashid Mraja said the group would open its doors for negotiations with anybody who approaches them but the agenda would be how the Coast can secede from Kenya.
Mr Mraja said the secession includes the entire province and not just the Coastal strip because “that is what forms Coast”.
Water minister Charity Ngilu and Mr Salim Lone, a former adviser of Prime Minister Raila Odinga asked the government to engage MRC in talks. Mr Lone said MRC had succeeded in uniting Coast people, both the dispossessed and the elite, including Cabinet ministers, behind its challenge to the established order.
He said MRC’s success in appealing to rich and poor alike is a reflection of the marginalisation and the domination of its wealth by outside forces.
However, he said the group should abandon its secessionist platform, which would propel its agenda nationally as well.
Acting Internal Security Minister Yusuf Haji appealed to all arms of the government to speak with one voice regarding MRC.
“National security matters should not be politicised. There seems to be conflicting messages sent out regarding the MRC matter. The Ministry of Internal Security shall take the lead on issues relating to the government’s position on MRC,” Mr Haji said in a statement.
He promised neutrality in the way security agencies will deal with the group and other security issues.