News / Africa

    MRC Not Expected to Disrupt Kenya Voting

    Mombasa Republican Council supporters in Likoni, Mombasa, Kenya, February 21, 2013. (VOA/J. Craig)Mombasa Republican Council supporters in Likoni, Mombasa, Kenya, February 21, 2013. (VOA/J. Craig)
    x
    Mombasa Republican Council supporters in Likoni, Mombasa, Kenya, February 21, 2013. (VOA/J. Craig)
    Mombasa Republican Council supporters in Likoni, Mombasa, Kenya, February 21, 2013. (VOA/J. Craig)
    Jill Craig
    The Mombasa Republican Council (MRC), which has previously threatened a coastal boycott of the March 4 Kenyan elections, is not expected to disrupt next week’s polling, but the extent to which its supporters will participate in the process remains in question.

    In 2010, the MRC was deemed a criminal gang and banned by the Kenyan government. That ban was lifted in July 2012. However, in October, Kenyan police arrested the MRC's leader, as well as its spokesman and other supporters, accusing them of plotting to disrupt school examinations.  

    As a secessionist group, the MRC wants to form its own country, saying the coastal region is a cash cow for the rest of Kenya because of the revenue generated from the Mombasa port and lucrative tourism industry. MRC supporters point to their own unemployment, lack of education and land grievances, and argue that their demands are justified.

    Because of these issues, MRC supporters have, until recently, said that they would encourage coastal residents to boycott the elections, a troublesome prospect for electoral officials who have been working to increase voter registration, prevent technical glitches, avoid violence and instill general public confidence in the elections.  
     
    Amina Hussein Soud, Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission elections coordinator for the southwest coast region, says she's not worried about the MRC causing trouble, because many supporters have registered to vote and some are even running for office.

    "We urged them, on registration, and almost 80 percent of them registered…I urged them to be a part of the leadership so they went on and vied," she says. "So now, some of them are aspirants. So if they are aspirants, why would they fight us? They are a part of the game now, you see?”

    Despite these developments, Soud confirms that top MRC leader Omar Mwamnuadzi and his spokesman, Mohammed Rashid Mraja, are not registered to vote.

    “The two of them refused because they were saying that they are still taking us to court [so] they cannot go bend to that," she says. "But the rest of them did because I remember registering a person from Taita and [he] was the chairman of the MRC in Taita. I registered the chairman of Kisauni…so I’ve registered most of them and I believe that these people will want to use their votes.”

    However, there are some MRC supporters who aren't interested in using their votes.

    Ali Mbwana Mwatebe is one of them. As chairman of the MRC branch in Likoni, located near the Mombasa ferry, Mwatebe says he was one of the MRC supporters arrested last October.

    Although he refuses to participate in the upcoming elections, he is adamant that he and his colleagues are not looking for problems.  

    "Our aim is not to disrupt the elections, but these councilors vying for the seats are the ones spreading propaganda that the MRC is not together with this exercise, which we have on the fourth," says Mwatebe. "With us, we are for peace. We are not ready to cause any disturbance.

    But he reiterates that the MRC’s goals remain the same, to secede from Kenya.

    "We want to separate ourselves from Kenya," he said through an interpreter. "We want an independent Pwani, coastal region, but it should follow the right channels, not war.  We are not ready for any war. What we want is to have our own coastal region in peace."

    According to Soud, there are 699,700 registered voters in the counties of Kwale, Mombasa and Taita Taveta, which have been considered MRC stronghold areas.

    You May Like

    New EU Asylum Rules Could Boost Rightists

    New regulations will seek to correct EU failures in dealing with migrant crisis, most notably inability to get member states to absorb a total of 160,000 refugees

    More Political Turmoil Likely in Iraq as Iran Waits in the Wings

    Analysts warn that Tehran, even though it may not be engineering the Sadrist protests in Baghdad, is seeking to leverage its influence on its neighbor

    Forced Anal Testing Case to Appear Before Kenya Court

    Men challenge use of anal examinations to ‘prove homosexuality’; practice accomplishes nothing except to humiliate those subjected to them, according to Human Rights Watch

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Rulingi
    X
    May 03, 2016 5:16 PM
    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Ruling

    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Painting Captures President Lincoln Assassination Aftermath

    A newly restored painting captures the moments following President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865. It was recently unveiled at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, where America’s 16th president was shot. It is the only known painting by an eyewitness that captures the horror of that fateful night. VOA’s Julie Taboh tells us more about the painting and what it took to restore it to its original condition.
    Video

    Video Elephant Summit Results in $5M in Pledges, Presidential Support

    Attended and supported by three African presidents, a three-day anti-poaching summit has concluded in Kenya, resulting in $5 million in pledges and a united message to the world that elephants are worth more alive than dead. The summit culminated at the Nairobi National Park with the largest ivory burn in history. VOA’s Jill Craig attended the summit and has this report about the outcomes.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Ethiopia’s Drought Takes Toll on Children

    Ethiopia is dealing with its worst drought in decades, thanks to El Nino weather patterns. An estimated 10 million people urgently need food aid. Six million of them are children, whose development may be compromised without sufficient help, Marthe van der Wolf reports for VOA from the Metahara district.
    Video

    Video Little Havana - a Slice of Cuban Culture in Florida

    Hispanic culture permeates everything in Miami’s Little Havana area: elderly men playing dominoes as they discuss politics, cigar rollers deep at work, or Cuban exiles talking with presidential candidates at a Cuban coffee window. With the recent rapprochement between Cuba and United States, one can only expect stronger ties between South Florida and Cuba.
    Video

    Video California Republicans Weigh Presidential Choices Amid Protests

    Republican presidential candidates have been wooing local party leaders in California, a state that could be decisive in selecting the party's nominee for U.S. president. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports delegates to the California party convention have been evaluating choices, while front-runner Donald Trump drew hundreds of raucous protesters Friday.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Football Team Helps War-Torn City Cope

    With the conflict still raging across much of Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, between the rebel PKK and the Turkish state, many Kurds are trying to escape the turmoil by focusing on the success of their football team Amedspor in Diyarbakir. The club is increasingly becoming a symbol for Kurds, not only in Diyarbakir but beyond. Dorian Jones reports from southeast Turkey.
    Video

    Video ‘The Lights of Africa’ - Through the Eyes of 54 Artists

    An exhibition bringing together the work of 54 African artists, one from each country, is touring the continent after debuting at COP21 in Paris. Called "Lumières d'Afrique," the show centers on access to electricity and, more figuratively, ideas that enlighten. Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, the exhibition's first stop.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora