Wabunge wa Kenya waamua kukutana na kundi lisilo halali la MRC!
MPs team gets ready to meet banned MRC
Mombasa Republican Council (MRC) spokesperson Mohammed Rashid Mraja (in a Muslim cap) accompanied by human rights activists from the Muslims for Human Rights (MUHURI). Mr Mraja has said the group will not engage in dialogue with two parliamentary teams, unless the government reverses its decision to ban it.
Despite the talks initiative, however, MRC spokesman Mohammed Rashid Mraja on Monday reiterated the group’s position against any dialogue until the ban imposed on it is lifted.
“We shall only be available for any deliberation with the government once the illegal tag is removed. We have no problem meeting anybody in the government once that is done,” said Mr Mraja.
He added: “MRC leadership does not dispute the idea of having talks with the government but worldwide, there is no government that talks to outlawed groups,” he said.
Two months ago, a mock election by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission in Malindi town was disrupted after a group linked to MRC invaded a polling station.
A policeman was injured and his gun stolen in the incident.
A few days later, a gang set ablaze a vehicle that electoral officials had hired for civic education in Kilifi town.
Mr Marende ordered the inquiry last month after United Democratic Front and Orange Democratic Movement MPs separately filed motions to set up an ad hoc committee to look into MRC grievances.
But the Speaker rejected the move saying Parliament already had committees to address the matter.
On Monday, Nominated MP Sheikh Mohammed Dor said the committees met eight Coast MPs in Nairobi last week ahead of plans to meet members of the outlawed group.
“We told the committees that the issues raised by MRC were genuine and we fully support them because this group is non-violent contrary to condemnation from some quarters,” said Sheikh Dor.
Among the issues discussed at the meeting he described as charged, were land problems, unemployment and unfair distribution of resources.
Sheikh Dor said MPs from Taita Taveta raised the issue that “62 per cent of land in the county belongs to national parks with the rest is owned by an influential family”.
He said Coast MPs asked the House teams to push for the decriminalisation of MRC before engaging them in any negotiations.
They should also convince MRC that the 1963 Lancaster agreement between the British, the Sultan of Zanzibar and the Kenyan government on the coastal strip will not expire next year as the group is claiming.
“Once those issues are addressed, we are sure they will meet members of the group,” said Sheikh Dor.
MPs Abu Chiaba (Lamu East), Calistus Mwatela (Mwatate), Ali Hassan Joho (Kisauni), Omar Zonga (Msambweni), Thomas Mwadeghu (Wundanyi), Naomi Shaban (Taveta) and Danson Mungatana (Garsen) attended the meeting.
Dr Shaban, the minister for Gender, said the issues discussed at the meeting were in the public domain.
“We have to wait for the two committees to submit their report,” she said yesterday when she was contacted for a comment.
Assistant Minister Chiaba said irregular allocation of land and sidelining of Coast people in senior positions in the government were among issues that gave birth to MRC.
“On principal we agreed with MRC on marginalisation of Coast regions in everything including employment, education and development but not secession,” said Mr Chiaba in an interview with the Nation.
He challenged the parliamentary committees to meet MRC without seeking any assistance from MPs from the Coast region.
“It is their duty to find means and ways of getting members of MRC and initiate dialogue on all outstanding issues,” he stated.
But the committees asked the Coast MPs to help them engage the group in dialogue.
Sheikh Dor said the committees assured them that they would do a good job and table their recommendations in Parliament as directed by Mr Marende.
The Speaker directed the two committees to report back to the House within 60 days.
“The Joint Committee should identify the grievances of the group, the root causes of those complaints and make appropriate recommendations urging specific policy action on the issues identified within the ambit of the Constitution,” Mr Marende had ruled.