The Star (Nairobi)

4 December 2012

Kenya: MRC's Top Leadership Request Raila to Help Release 40 Youth

MOMBASA Republican Council top leadership on Sunday demanded that more than 40 youths in remand and with pending cases at a Mombasa court be dropped. The leadership said only then will their members register as voters.

At a meeting with the Prime Minister Raila Odinga, in which all the Coast MPs attended at Nyali Beach Hotel, MRC spokesman Rashid Mraja and secretary general Randu Ndzai asked the PM to look into the two issues.

The two MRC officials met the PM shortly before he held a rally at Tononoka grounds. "We met with PM at Nyali Beach," said Mraja. "We did so after seeking the opinion of our chairman Omar Mwamunuadzi." Mraja said Raila pleaded with them to tell their people to register.

He added: "From our side, we told him to facilitate the unconditional release of more than 40 youths who are currently languishing in remand. We also told to him that he ensures the pending cases against the MRC leadership are dropped."

Mraja and Randu had themselves been remanded at the Shimo La Tewa Prison on incitement and leading an unlawful group. "If Raila addresses our demands; We will consider our stance against the government. We will also consider registering as voters."

Mraja said that they decided to lock out all the coastal MPs on grounds that they (MPs) are the ones behind the atrocities bedeviling the entire region.

"The meeting lasted for 30 minutes with officials from PM's Office including Abdul Mwasera and his personal assistant attending. We locked the local leaders out because they incited the government against us," he added.

Mraja said this in reference to the recent crackdown that saw almost the entire top leadership arrested. They were bailed by Makadara MP Mike Sonko when they failed to raise the Sh2 million bond each.

Raila on Sunday during the Tononoka ODM rally indicated that he had met with MRC top leadership in a bid to convince them to participate in the next polls starting with the ongoing registration.

"Even those MRC leaders I have talked to them and told them to register. MRC solution does not need force where people are beaten up with clubs and rungus.

It needs dialogue and that is what we are doing. We agreed we shall talk," Odinga was quoted saying at the rally. About the recent leaflets that circulated in Kisauni and poll registration threats in some parts of south coast, Mraja distanced MRC from such activities.

"I don't know about the leaflets. As I said earlier on, we are a peaceful group and that is why we are capable of seeking audience with the PM. We shall never engage in guerilla tactics," said Mraja.

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