Now that MRC have faith in the Judiciary, they can embrace a unionist agenda
When the High Court declared the gazette notice that banned the Mombasa Republican Council (MRC) unconstitutional, therefore lifting the ban on the group, there were wild celebrations by the MRC membership. Indeed, the ruling was quite unexpected given the notoriety that MRC had acquired in the months preceding the court ruling— even the MRC leadership itself was baffled by the ruling. “It is now clear that the justice system is working and we hope to open a new chapter,” one of the MRC leaders said outside the Mombasa Law Courts where the ruling was made. What this MRC leader was simply saying is that they now have confidence in the judiciary to deliver justice is a free and fair manner.
Since MRC has been pursuing a secessionist agenda, claiming that the governance structures of the Republic of Kenya had forsaken the people of Coast Province by subjecting to unacceptable marginalization and exclusion, the court ruling now throws the ball back in MRC’s court. That the justice system is now working, as one of the MRC leaders correctly observed, means that the path of reforms that Kenya has taken will ensure that other arms of government “are working.” In this regard, once the executive and legislative arms of government are also reformed so that they deliver services to all Kenyans in a transparent and fair manner, will there be any more reason for MRC to stick to its secessionist agenda? The answer is; certainly not. There is no doubt that MRC’s grievances against the government have been genuine. However, the option to secede as a way to salvage the coastal people from marginalization and exclusion is unjustified and unacceptable.
It would be quite helpful for that section of the MRC leadership that still believes in secession to read and consult widely and deeply in order understand situation where secession is a justifiable option. If they did this honestly, they would realize that the socio-economic and political situation in Kenya has not yet reached a point to warrant any part of the country to secede. And that’s why MRC should take the wise counsel that has been given to them many times— use the devolved system of government to address the grievances of the coastal people. Indeed, in making provisions for devolved governments, makers of the new constitution— a people-driven and people-owned document— were very much alive to the fact that there are so many communities in Kenya, including the coastal people, that have been marginalized and excluded from the mainstream socio-economic and political benefits. In this regard, the makers of the new supreme law not only made provisions for devolved governments— they also created structures to ensure the devolved governments are viable and meet the needs of marginalized communities by establishing the Equalization Fund, which is a special fund dedicated to uplifting marginalized communities.
So, now that MRC have faith in the judiciary thanks to the reforms that have taken place in that institution, they should have faith in the devolved system of government which has overhauled the executive arm government to ensure the policies that resulted in the marginalization and exclusion of some communities are eliminated, and remedial steps are taken to ensure equity.