The Star (Nairobi)

27 April 2012

Kenya: Three Ministers Now Fault Raila Over MRC

THREE Cabinet ministers from Coast province have criticised Prime Minister Raila Odinga's statement that the government will not dialogue with the outlawed Mombasa Republican Council unless they declare themselves Kenyans.

Fisheries minister Amason Kingi and assistant ministers Gonzi Rai (Lands) and Francis Baya (Immigration) yesterday faulted the remark, saying group's views represent those of the Coast people. Kingi and Baya also criticised the use of anti-riot police against MRC members on Tuesday outside the Mombasa Law Courts.

"We know the government has all the machinery to deal with what it perceives to be state security but in this case, these are issues that the state needs to listen to and seek a special way of addressing them," said Kingi.

Speaking separately, the three MPs said marginalisation in land allocation and skewed employment in the civil service by past and the present regimes has triggered the protests from the residents of the region. But Msambweni MP Omar Zonga faulted the outlawed group for calling for secession. He said the idea will do more harm than good for the region.

Speaking on Wednesday at Mrima Primary School during the world malaria day celebrations, Zonga he said burning of voters and identity cards as proposed by the MRC is retrogressive.

In Voi, a commissioner with the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission Mohamed Alawi asked group to stop urging the voters in Coast not to participate in the next general election. He said this denies them their constitutional right and a chance to have their problems addressed.

Kingi, the Magarini MP, said the government ought to come up with a special land allocation programme and 'radical' employment of the Coast residents in the civil service if it is committed to addressing their plight.

Baya and Rai said the group's move to print T-shirts inscribed with 'MRC-Pwani si Kenya' writings is likely to land many innocent residents in police cells. They called on police to stop arbitrary arrests.

"Police should not arrest anyone wearing an MRC T-shirt. Many people in this region are so poor they cannot afford buying clothes. They will accept such gifts from the members," said Baya.

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