The state will crush the Mombasa Republican Council with its arsenal, President Uhuru Kenyatta has warned.
The group’s growing supremacy and any unlawful activities it might undertake now and in future, will be wiped out with fire, he said.
Uhuru said the government is too powerful to be defeated by a mere cult and Coast will not secede from Kenya.
The MRC, a separatist organisation, wants Coast seceded from Kenya because of political and economic discrimination against indigenous groups. The situation is worse, its bosses say.
The MRC’s slogan is Pwani si Kenya (Coast isn’t part of Kenya).
But Uhuru On Wednesday said, “Coast will remain part of Kenya.”
Uhuru, for the first time, passionately talked about the MRC, alluding to his fears over the group’s cause and the traction it had gained.
However, the state has a strong grip on the Coast, Uhuru said.
Formed in 1999, the MRC traces its segregation claim to the 1895 and 1963 agreements transferring the 10-mile strip of land along the coast to the Government of Kenya from Zanzibar.
On July 30, 2012, a three-judge bench ruled that the MRC was legal. But in October that year the government banned it again.
Last year a Court of Appeal ruling gave the group a lifeline by declaring it legal.
Uhuru’s fear was evident even as he called for dialogue, to avoid rattling the group – a dangerous lawful one.
MRC is known for staging coldblooded attacks on barracks and police stations. An ambush carried out on the eve of March 4, 2013, general election claimed the lives of senior police officers. There are fears that the group willcarry out a similar attack on or after the August 8 election.
“Don’t be deceived, you will hit the chief’s office or police station because it is manned by one officer; you are not destroying Uhuru, it’s Kwale’s economy [that will] crumble,” Uhuru said. He spoke in Mombasa and Kwale.
Kwale is the MRC’s stronghold. A sizeable percentage of its residents support secession, a 2016 survey by Taita Taveta University VC Hamadi Boga shows. A similar percentage will not vote, the study showed.
Jubilee and Cord have called for 100 per cent turnout on Election Day.
Four MRC members on Wednesday were charged in a Kwale court with inciting residents not to vote in the 2013 election. Ali Said, Hamisi Mwalimu, Kassim Babadulla and Mohammed Athman, who were arrested on February 28, 2013, accused police of planting evidence to implicate them.
The suspects were allegedly found with leaflets reading ‘Pwani si Kenya’, which they were allegedly circulating to locals to scare them from voting.
But Said told chief magistrate Doreen Mulekyo he did not have any leaflets at the time of arrest. “I had never seen such a note and in fact it was not my handwriting so I wonder where it came from,” he said.
come, let’s talk
It is said the group plans to disrupt IEBC activities. Spokesperson Richard Lewa in December said they will sue to stop the IEBC’S activities.
On Wednesday the President said the government will not be forced on its knees by the group. “She has million times as many weapons as MRC,” he said.
Uhuru warned MRC youth that if they stage attacks, they will be smoked out of their hideouts.
He scolded them for taking oaths to make themselves invisible during attacks. In November 2014; a soldier and six youths were killed in an early morning raid on the Nyali barracks, Mombasa, when MRC tried to force its way into the facility.
The government called for round-table talks. “Let’s seat and talk to know where the problem lies. World over, no problem is solved via weapons. This will only cause harm and economic sabotage,” Uhuru said.
“Any grievances can be looked into by government. We are not interested in you, relinquish your firearms.”