Calls for Coast secession not linked to MRC: MP Owen Baya

Tuesday October 24 2017

Owen Baya

Kilifi North MP Owen Baya speaks to the press in his office in Kilifi town on October 24, 2017. He says he will table a bill in Parliament for the secession of the Coast. Mr Baya says the call for secession s not linked to the Mombasa Republican Council's (MRC) push for self-rule. PHOTO | KAZUNGU SAMUEL | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By KAZUNGU SAMUEL
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Kilifi North MP Owen Baya on Tuesday said his call for secession is not related to the views of the Mombasa Republican Council (MRC).

Addressing the press in his office in Kilifi town, the ODM legislator said his quest for secession is based on international laws and the Constitution.

AUTONOMY

The outlawed MRC has been advocating for secession of the Coast.

Mr Baya said he will not relent in his quest for the Coast to gain autonomy from the rest of Kenya despite some resistance.

On Saturday, the Chief of Defence Forces General Samson Mwathethe warned that secession calls have far reaching effects and should not be discussed at such a time in the country.

“The bill [he intends to file] is not in any way related to MRC. Though MRC had a similar call, they were not using the right channels. I do not believe in the use of violence and movements in my pursuit for the same course,” said MP Baya.

The Constitution has given the power to lobby for the region to manage its own affairs. It is also patched in international laws, both at the African Union (AU) and the United Nations (UN) charter.”

REFERENDUM

The legislator, who plans to introduce a secession bill in Parliament, said MRC was being used by selfish tycoons from the region who had their own agenda far from what MRC was preaching.

“This course started a long time ago and it did not yield fruit. I am sure this time we are going to have our say. I will talk to the President and lobby fellow MPs to make sure the bill sails through Parliament,” he added

Mr Baya expressed optimism that the bill would be successful. Should the bill pass, it would pave the way for a referendum for the region’s residents to determine whether it wants to split from the rest of Kenya.

“In the national assembly I will bank on the silent majority in passing the Bill. We have MPs who do not speak out their views but they can express their views during voting time in the assembly. I have no fear whatsoever because the Bill is informed by the dictates of the constitution,” he said.

OUTLAWED

When the secession debate was brought to the fore by the MRC, it gained massive support in the region but most political leaders did not support it because it was calling for a ‘no vote’ in the region.

The group was outlawed by the government after it was blamed for attacks on police stations and violence at the Coast.

The group then moved to court and the ban was lifted. But it was a short-lived joy after it was banned again.

REFORMS

MP Baya said Kilifi residents have accepted their call for 'No reforms, no election’ and he was optimistic that most of them will not vote on Thursday in the scheduled repeat presidential election.

“We have moved to all the seven constituencies talking to people and they have assured us that they will not participate in voting. We want all the reforms done at the Independent Boundaries and Electoral Commission (IEBC) as ordered by the Supreme Court, before we participate in the exercise,” he said.

Baya and some Opposition legislators had said they would push for secession if the IEBC conducts the October 26 poll without implementing reforms.