Mombasa Republican Council demand “independence” from Kenya
Kenya Muslim leaders have asked the government to de-list the Mombasa Republican Council as an illegal group in order to enable dialogue.
In its manifesto, the Mombasa Republican Council claims that their country (Coast province) has become a field for Kenyans to steal their wealth and demands the removal of Kenya’s administration and with the end result being an independent country with Mombasa as the capital city.
The major grievances that gave rise to the Mombasa Republican Council are land matters, employment opportunities and generally poor economic situation. Many native Mombasa and Coast residents decry the fact that the major industries there including tourism and farming are dominated by upcountry Kenyans (Wabara) or foreigners.
The Council of Imams and Preachers of Kenya said that the MRC’s concerns were genuine and urged the government to give them a hearing to ensure a peaceful election period at the Coast.
“The group has conducted all its activities peacefully. Let all government bodies interested in talks with them prove their seriousness by first legalising the group in order to bind the deliberations,” said CIPK secretary-general Sheikh Mohammed Dor.
This comes after the Mombasa Republican Council filed a constitutional application at the High Court to demand a referendum on the secession of the Coast.
Internal Security minister George Saitoti said last week that the group has to renounce the secession agenda for the government to listen to its grievances.
The MRC is demanding secession over historical land grievances in the Coast region.
The government banned the group in 2009, but it has refused to go, deciding instead to challenge the ban.
The group’s secretary-general Randu Nzai Ruwa says the Mombasa Republican Council is “a social movement of the poor” and has huge following in the province.
“We do not hide because our cause is justified in the eyes of man and God,” Mr Nzai was quoted as saying.
It is not possible to estimate how much support the MRC has among the general population at the Coast province because many residents are not willing to openly declare support for a group labelled illegal by the authorities.