20 October 2017

Kenya: ODM Legislators Threaten to Push for Coast Secession If IEBC Holds October 26 Polls

Photo: Kevin Odit/Daily Nation
From left: Kilifi Governor Amason Kingi, British High Commissioner Nic Hailey, Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho and French Ambassador Antoine Sivan walk on the beach after a meeting on November 6, 2017.

Kilifi Governor Amason Kingi and six Coast Opposition legislators have said they will push for secession of the Coast region if the electoral agency insists on holding the October 26 election without reforms.

They said secession will enable the region, which was formally under the rule of the Sultan of Zanzibar, to govern itself for the good of Coast residents who have remained marginalised since Independence.

REFORMS

Speaking during rallies at Rabai and Kaloleni, Mr Kingi said the Sultan of Zanzibar gave the region to Kenya during Independence.

He added that the electoral reforms the National Super Alliance (Nasa) is pushing for are crucial for a free and fair election.

"Our aim is to push for reforms at the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) after the Supreme Court nullified President Uhuru Kenyatta's August 8 re-election on the basis of irregularities and illegalities," Governor Kingi said.

The team, comprising ODM party legislators, also pledged to hold rallies for eight days consecutively to inform residents on the importance of reforming the IEBC ahead of the repeat poll.

"We 'Nasa' supporters are ready to go for election anytime but we cannot allow the election to be presided over by an electoral agency that has already taken sides," said the governor.

DEMOCRACY

He, however, told residents that they have a right to exercise their democratic right on October 26 adding that "you have a choice to do what is right by avoiding being a project of a sham election."

Kilifi North MP Owen Baya said they will push for secession if the Jubilee Party proceeds to push for October 26 repeat election to impose a President against the democratic will of the people.

"Our Constitution allows secession and we will push for the bill to enable us govern ourselves to end the numerous historical injustices that had persisted since Independence," he said.

Ganze MP Teddy Mwambire said there will be no election in his constituency without first reforming the IEBC, adding that "one of the commissioners has already said that the repeat poll will not be free and fair."

They spoke in reference to Commissioner Roselyn Akombe who resigned from the IEBC on Wednesday.

PEOPLE'S WILL

In the statement, Dr Akombe said the October 26 repeat election as planned cannot meet the basic expectations of credibility and fairness.

Michael Kingi said Commissioner Akombe's statement was self-explanatory that the IEBC is not ready for the repeat election and any attempt to force an election will be against the will of the people.

Also present during the rally were Kaloleni MP Paul Katana, Rabai MP William Kamoti and Kilifi South MP Ken Chonga.

Nasa Presidential flagbearer Raila Odinga and Kalonzo Musyoka have withdrawn from the October 26 race. Nasa has instead called for protests on Election Day.

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Opposition leader Raila Odinga has, for the first time, come out and talked about the secession debate. Read more »

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