KENYA COAST SEEK SECCESSION.
BY MURIMI MUTIGA.
Their recent demands and activities are the kind of stuff that caused years of civil war in Sudan.
Yet, Kenya's Mombasa Republican Council, one of the 33 gangs the Government outlawed mid last year, says it wants part of the coastal region to secede.
Formed in 1999, the organisation claims the Coast was not part of Kenya.Similar claims by the Shifta (Somali militia) who wanted to secede parts of North Eastern part of the country led to armed confrontations in which scores were killed in the 1960s.
The group is seeking self-rule, although it claims it does not support use of violence.
However, Kenya National Security Inteligency says that another group, the Kaya Bombo, is the council’s military wing.
Kaya Bombo is an outfit of hundreds of youth, who are armed with an assortment of weapons, and operate from forests. The gang struck with deadly force during the 1997 Kenya coast chaos commonly reffered to as the "Likoni clashes" in which hundreds of people were killed.
Mombasa Republican Council Secretary-General Nzai Randu says the group draws its claims from an agreement between Great Britain and Zanzibar more than a century ago under the supervision of Sultan Seyyid Hemed Bin Twain, Queen Victoria and the British Government.
Randu claim Mombasa was to remain a protectorate under the British Government after consultation with the sultan.
The ruler allowed the British Government to administer Mombasa for its political and business activities.
Randu allege the agreement stipulated that the sovereignty of the Sultan should be maintained.
He says before Kenya regained its independence, talks on whether or not to change the 1895 agreement arose.
Representatives from the Coast and other delegates met at Lancaster House in 1962 to discuss on independence.
The Lancaster talks resulted in the formation of the first federal of constitution and agreements.
According to Randu, the 1963 agreement integrated Mombasa as an independent region in the broader Kenya.
Randu claims whatever was agreed upon would not be changed without the approval of the people from the protectorate.
He says the Government disregarded the agreements at the expense of the former protectorate.
The group however has been quick to claim that it is not a rebels organization.
Randusays although they are capable of sacrificing their lives, time and money, they do not support use of violence to attain their objectives.
Randu alleges Mombasa was an autonomous entity with the ability to form a government.
"We no longer need the protection by the Kenya Government that was inherited from the colonial British," he says.
He claims the council duly served the Government letters addressed to President Kibaki, Prime Ministerin 2005 and in year 2011..
The letters sent to both leaders contain claims of the region’s independence from Kenya.
However, the Government has never replied in writting but the leaders used different political forums to dismiss the claims.