Saturday, September 7, 2013

Uhuru sets terms for MRC talks

PHOTO | FILE Members of the Mombasa Republican Council outside the High Court in Mombasa during the mention of their secession case. They have denied having any links with Al-Shabaab.

PHOTO | FILE Members of the Mombasa Republican Council outside the High Court in Mombasa in this file photo. President Uhuru Kenyatta has agreed to meet Mombasa Republican Council elders if they agree to denounce violence.  NATION MEDIA GROUP

By MWAKERA MWAJEFA

BY MWAKERA MWAJEFA
mwajefa@ke.nationmedia.com

President Uhuru Kenyatta has agreed to meet Mombasa Republican Council elders if they agree to denounce violence.

The President told Mijikenda elders he was ready to meet the group, which was outlawed but later allowed to operate by a court, if it embraced dialogue.

President Kenyatta told the nine sub-tribe elders during a closed-door meeting at State House Mombasa on Thursday that they had a crucial role to play to ensure peace prevailed in the Coast region.

“As a government, we are willing to forget the past if MRC renounces its violence agenda and is ready to work with us,” the President told the elders, who had informed him that they were sent by the MRC.

On land, Mr Kenyatta said the Cabinet Secretary in charge of the docket, Mrs Charity Ngilu, would work with the elders to ensure that destroyed Kaya sites were restored.
“The government will work with Kaya elders and the people of Coast to ensure that regional issues are resolved,” he added.

Speaking on the behalf of the elders, former Cabinet minister Chirau Mwakwere(above) lamented that Kaya shrines had been destroyed and asked that they be restored and protected.

“We want the government to build three cultural centres like Bomas of Kenya in Kilifi and Kwale,” said the former Matuga MP. These, according to him, would not only attract tourists but also help preserve the culture of the respective nine sub-tribe communities.
Olive branch

A Kaya elder who spoke on condition of anonymity confirmed the meeting took place, describing it as cordial and that the President extended an olive branch to members of MRC.

“The President was understanding and listened to our pleas on pertinent issues presented to him and this gives us hope things will change in the Coast region for the better,”  the elder said by phone.

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