, MOMBASA, Kenya, Nov 3 – Former secessionist group Mombasa Republican Council (MRC) has faulted a section of coast leaders led by governors Ali Joho (Mombasa) and Amason Kingi (Kilifi) for awakening the secession debate.
The group’s Spokesperson Rashid Mraja told a media conference Friday that the call by the two leaders was anchored on selfish political interests and does not represent the aspirations of people living in the six coastal counties.
“If at all they were honest people, they should have come out and joined us when MRC started. These are the same people who fought us and told us that we wanted to stir chaos in the region,” Mraja said and wondered “Why did they have to wait until it is politically convenient for them.”
Joho and Kingi revived the debate as part of protests by the Opposition after the repeat presidential election won by President Uhuru Kenyatta after his rival Raila Odinga boycotted the exercise, even though his name was retained on the ballot.
The Opposition has since launched several strategies—including boycotting some goods and services from some companies.
Mraja, whose group abandoned the secession quest a few years ago wondered why the leaders had failed to support MRC officials when they were harassed by the authorities, leading to the criminalization of the group in 2012 by then Interior Minister the late Prof George Saitoti.
He challenged Joho and Kingi to seek legal and constitutional means in their call for secession, but more importantly, he said the idea should not be forced down the throats of coastal residents.
“Coastal people will not accept to secede as far as the political destiny of this nation is concerned. We, if need be, shall follow legal means and we want to challenge the political leaders seeking that path to go to court and battle it out in courtrooms,” said Mraja.
Conspicuously absent from the meeting that resolved to pursue political autonomy for the coast region were four coastal county governors.
The County Chiefs absent during the proclamation made at Joho’s office in Mombasa were Kwale Governor Salim Mvurya, Fahim Twaha of Lamu, Granton Samboja (Taita Taveta) and Tana River’s Dhadho Godhana.
Joho and Kingi said they would commence public engagements with coastal residents so as to have them back the secession venture adding that they would soon publish timelines leading to separation of the region.