The High Court in Mombasa has lifted a ban on the Mombasa Republican Council, which has been pushing for the secession of Kenya's coastal region.
High Court judges John Mwera, Mary Kasango and Francis Tuiyott termed the Gazette Notice published by the government in 2010 declaring the group illegal as unconstitutional.
The judges advised the group, which has been pushing for secession on grounds of historical injustices meted on the local communities by successive governments, to register as a political party to pursue its agendas through legal means.
Apparently alive to the fact that many people may question the rationale behind their judgment, more so in the light of the group’s demands, the judges pointed out that effecting a secession was a weighty matter that could not be realised through the means the group has been pursuing.
“There may be Kenyans who may disenchanted with the our decision. Some would see it as an endorsement to secession and dismembering of this country. To them we say: Secession can only be achieved by far-reaching amendment to the constitution.”
The ruling triggered muted shouts of applause from the group members in court but the heavy presence of policemen and the judges’ warning restricted an outpouring of excitement and celebration within the court precincts.
Contacted for comment, MRC chairman Omar Mwamnuadzi welcomed the ruling terming it unexpected.
“We are happy with the decision of the court. We were not expecting this.
“Now the leadership of MRC will go back to the members and inform them of what has happened. After that we will come up with the best way forward as to whether we will participate in the elections or not,” he said.