Mombasa secessionist group unbanned by Kenyan court

 A sympathiser of the Mombasa Republican Council is arrested by riot-police on 24 April 2012 following violent confrontations in Kenya's coastal town of Mombasa Dozens of MRC members have been arrested this year

Related Stories

A Kenyan court has lifted a ban on a group demanding an independent state around the coastal city of Mombasa - a popular tourist destination.

The government outlawed the Mombasa Republican Council (MRC) in 2010, describing it as a "criminal group".

The government has said it will appeal the High Court's ruling that the ban was unconstitutional.

The ruling raises concern that Kenya's stability could be threatened by louder calls for secession, analysts say.

The MRC accuses the government of marginalising the indigenous ethnic groups living along the coast, which is also the centre of the country's tourism sector.

Dozens of MRC members have been arrested this year as the security forces try to enforce the ban.

Start Quote

The government assures Kenyans of their security and that of their property countrywide”

End Quote Francis Kimemia Acting head of Kenya's Civil Service

'Grave implications'

The court said there was no evidence that the MRC had engaged in criminal activity.

"The court has been able to deduce that MRC is a political movement. Secession is a political agenda," Justice Francis Tuiyot said.

"The court therefore grants the MRC a chance to enjoy their political right. They should organise and register as a political party."

The court, however, stressed that the MRC must campaign for independence in a democratic way, without inciting war or promoting hate speech.

The MRC applauded the decision and the possibility of holding talks with the government.

Attorney General Githu Muigai said the government would appeal against the decision.


"Any group or organisation challenging the constitutional authority and territorial integrity of the Republic of Kenya cannot enjoy protection by the constitution," he said.

The acting head of Kenya's Civil Service, Francis Kimemia, said security chiefs would hold an emergency meeting on Thursday to discuss the "grave implications" of the ruling.

"The rule of law will continue to be enforced without fear or favour," Mr Kimemia said.

"The government assures Kenyans of their security and that of their property countrywide."

In the past the government has rejected talks with the MRC, saying it must first drop its demands for independence.

The BBC's Kevin Mwachiro in the capital, Nairobi, says, the issue of secession of the coastal region, is not new and seems to resurface in the run-up to a general election.

Kenya is due to go to the polls again in March next year.

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

More Africa stories



  • The Duchess and Duke of Cambridge and Prince GeorgeGorgeous George

    Baby steals show as tour reveals rise in support for monarchy

  • Houses of ParliamentBig impact?

    How a Scottish Yes vote would change the UK Parliament

  • Kim Jong-un visits a children's campThe Notepad Men

    Who are the people who take down Kim Jong-un's every word?

  • Donald Tusk7 days quiz

    What made Poland's prime minister become an internet hit?

  • Beebcoins logoMaking money

    How easy is to coin your own virtual currency?

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.