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Citizen Weekly

Wednesday, 25 March 2015


Kilifi County leaders on Wednesday reacted angrily to remarks by Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery that Coast politicians do not denounce the activities of the banned Mombasa Republican Council for fear of losing elections.
Governor Amason Kingi and Senator Stewart Madzayo condemned the statement as “unfortunate and irresponsible” and expressed disappointment in the Cabinet Secretary.
“The minister is taking an escape route which is extremely unfortunate for somebody in that docket because it tells us that he is unlikely to deal with insecurity at the Coast. This is the same language his predecessor (Joseph ole Lenku) was using,” Senator Madzayo said at the Nation’s newsroom in Mombasa.
On Monday, the Cabinet secretary while on a tour of Kilifi claimed that MRC members were training in the county’s forests so as to disrupt peace in the region.
He said intelligence showed that MRC had teamed up with terrorist groups and was the principal cause of insecurity in the region.
Mr Nkaissery also accused the MRC of contributing to the problems affecting the tourism sector at the Coast.
He warned that the Government would crush the secessionist group.
On Wednesday, speaking after a ground breaking ceremony for the county’s Sh45.5 million ICT program, Mr Kingi said Mr Nkaissery’s statement was “very unfortunate” because Coast leaders had been vocal in trying to address the MRC issue, but with little or no commitment from the national government.
The governor said that he had in many of his public functions denounced MRC activities and tried to address some of the issues the group was advocating because they were based on historical injustices suffered by coastal people.
“I have been vocal and in most of my functions I have publicly urged the MRC group to stop using illegal means to advocate what they think was taken away from them. This is what every leader in the Coast region has been doing in as far as MRC is concerned,” the governor said.
He said the national government had failed to address the escalating insecurity in the country and was merely blaming the wrong people. He noted that terror groups such as Al-Shabaab always claimed responsibility for atrocities while MRC has been consistent in denying any involvement.
“If the national government has failed to restore security in the Coast region, they should not go for a cheap excuses. We have boldly talked about MRC, we have denounced their activities in public. We have always told the Mombasa Republican Council (MRC) that instead of using a panga, a knife or a sword to rain terror, we have a legal mechanism to get what we think was taken away from us and that weapon is the new constitution,” said the governor.
MRC secretary general Randu Nzai Ruwa said he was taken aback by Mr Nkaissery’s allegations that members of the group were training in Kilifi forests.
“If indeed, there are MRC members who are training in forests why don’t the police arrest them?” he asked.
Speaking to the Nation by telephone from Nairobi, Mr Ruwa denied Mr Nkaissery’s accusations that MRC had links to terrorist groups.
He also denied the Cabinet secretary’s claims that MRC was behind the wave of insecurity which has nearly killed tourism in the region.
“The reason why the police have failed to address the insecurity situation in the region is because they are fond of using MRC members as a scapegoat,” he said.
“Instead of hunting down the perpetrators of the attacks and bringing them to book they raid our homes and accuse us of the attacks.”
Peter Shehe, who has been outspoken on the MRC issue especially in his Ganze constituency, criticised the minister saying he ought to have consulted the regional leaders before issuing such a statement.
“I don’t fear MRC. In fact if there is any leader who has openly come out to talk about the illegal activities, then that person is Peter Shehe,” he said.
Mr Shehe said that he at one time wanted to see Mr Nkaissery because of the MRC issue but the meeting did not materialise. In January the MP fell out with the then Kilifi county police commander Joseph Nthenge over his claims that some MRC suspects were taking oaths and training in the vast Palakumi forests.
He claimed some youths had crossed to Somalia from Palakumi to join Al-Shabab for training. On Wednesday, Kilifi County Police Commander Douglas Kanja said although police had been receiving intelligence reports that MRC members were training in the forests they had not found them.
“We have several times received intelligence reports that MRC members are training in the local forests,” he said. “But whenever we comb the forests, we don’t across the youth claimed to be training in there.”