, NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 24 – President Mwai Kibaki has for the first time spoken out strongly against the outlawed Mombasa Republican Council (MRC) and told the illegal group to forget about secession of the coastal region from Kenya.
The Head of State said on Tuesday that this would not happen as Kenya remains a unitary State.
“Kenya is one nation and any attempts or calls for secession should be rejected and shall not be tolerated. Specifically, the Coast region has been part of, is part of and will remain part of the Republic of Kenya,” Kibaki stated.
The MRC members want separation of the coastal region from the rest of the country arguing that the area had been neglected by successive governments.
They also want to repossess land occupied by people from other communities within the county including foreigners.
The illegal group has also threatened to evict people from other communities who live and work in the Coast unless their secession demands are met.
They have also threatened to boycott the next General Election and have increasingly intimidated coastal residents.
Recently, the group disrupted mock elections in Malindi conducted by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, injured its officials and security agents.
On Monday, Prime Minister Raila Odinga told the illegal group that it must denounce its separatist claims before the government can engage it in dialogue.
Earlier on Tuesday, the proscribed group was engaged in a battle with the police, leaving one protester dead after they were denied entry to a court room in Mombasa to follow proceedings in a case where they want the government to recognise them as a legal group.
“We are going to deal with members of the MRC ruthlessly,” Mombasa police chief Kipkemoi Rop told AFP.
During the case, Lawyer Steven Kithi representing MRC urged the government to engage the group in negotiations to come up with a continued and peaceful conclusion into the matter.
But State Counsel Njoroge Mwangi told the court that the government was not ready to engage the group into any negotiations as it was listed as an illegal group by the State.
“We would like to know the nature of the organisation, who are the members, who are the founder members and their mission and vision,” Mwangi told the court.