20 October 2012

Kenya: Govt Declares Mombasa Republican Council Illegal Group

Photo: The Star/ Norbert Allan
Members of the banned group Mombasa Republican Council praying (File Photo).

On July 30 a three judge bench ruled that the Mombasa Republican Council was legal. Yesterday the government banned it again.

Yesterday Mombasa chief magistrate Stephen Riech granted police warrants of arrests against five leaders of the secessionist group.

MRC is yet to be re-gazetted as a proscribed organisation but both Internal Security PS Mutea Iringo and Coast police boss Aggrey Adoli last week said the group was "still illegal".

The charge yesterday indicated that the officials are members of an unlawful society contrary to section 6 of the Societies Act. This appears intended to bypass the July coirt ruling that MRC was a legal organisation. It was first banned in 2010.

The arrest warrants were issued against Omar Babu ( MRC treasurer), Nyae Ngao (organising secretary), Robert Tukwa, Salim Goga and Salim Hamisi Mlamba.

Police prosecutor Alex Wasike also sought the arrest warrant for three leaders Omar Mwamnwadzi (chairman), Randu Ruwa (secretary general) and Rashid Mraja (spokesperson) who are already detained at Shimo La Tewa prison.

Yesterday at the prison, Mwamnwadzi, who lost four teeth during his arrest, claimed that he would be dead if his bodyguards not shielded him from GSU officers during the raid.

Mwamnwadzi was accompanied by Randu and Mraja and prison warders but could not divulge more details because of "fear for their lives and the environment".

Randu and Mraja shared one pair of handcuffs while Mwamnuadzi was handcuffed alone. The prison authorities said Mwamnuadzi's health has improved.

Meanwhile, other MRC officials told the Star they are being trailed by CID officers. "Our phones are on and off because we are being tracked. We cannot go into hiding since this is our home and we have nowhere else to go to," said Nyae Ngao, the MRC organising secretary.

He said they were planning to bail out Randu who, like his colleagues, has been unable to raise the Sh2 million surety bond to leave jail.

Meanwhile, Kaya elders from Kilifi have condemned the recent attacks at the Coast linked to MRC. Speaking in Vitengeni, the elders urged the Mijikenda community and other inhabitants of the Coast to reject the MRC.

Led by Kaya Godoma elder Mangi Mitsanze, the elders said MRC disregarded the virtues of a peaceful community. "We agree with the group that we have been marginalised for long. However, we cannot use violence to demand our rights. We should sit down as a community and brainstorm on the best ways of addressing the grievances," said Mitsanze.

"The group is fighting for 'Mwambao' and not the province. We know that this group is being used by selfish tycoons who want to safeguard their own interests and not the interests of the coastal people," said Menza Khonde from Kaya Fungo.

They agreed to dedicate the first week of November for special prayers to seek God's intervention. In Nairobi, the Muslim leaders yesterday accused the government of targeting their faith under the pretext of fighting MRC.

They told a press conference at Jumuia mosque that said they were going to start legal action against certain police officers for their violation of the rights of Muslims.

They defended ODM nominated MP Sheikh Muhammad Dor who was arrested over this week for insisting that the MRC was a legal organisation.

"Over the last few weeks and months, the incidences under reference has become common occurrence with resurgence of the ugly memories of the dark days and years under the single party dictatorship," said the Muslim leaders.

Latif Shaaban, director of the Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims, who read the statement, alleged that six Muslims have disappeared after being kidnapped by people claiming to be police officers.

"Yet another Kenyan Muslim was abducted at a police roadblock only to be found dead a few days later dumped in the Tsavo national park.

This was followed up not so long after by the daylight assassination of another Kenyan Muslim (Aboud Rogo) in the streets of Mombasa just a few metres from a police station," Latif said.

The leaders also complained about rendition of Muslims to foreign countries. "Despite repeated denials that Muslims were not being targeted, all the casualties and victims have been all Muslims," said Latif said.

"All these are clear manifestation of utter disregard for the constitution, fundamental freedoms, human rights and the rule of law by the Kenya police," he said. Latif called on the police to arrest Prime Minister Raila Odinga who has defended the MRC.

Copyright © 2012 The Star. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 2,000 reports a day from more than 130 news organizations and over 200 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.