Lamu, KENYA: The National Council of Churches of Kenya –NCCK Lamu Branch has called on the government under President Uhuru Kenyatta to get off its high chair and listen to coastal leaders who are pushing for the secession of the region saying the move is substantiated.
Led by the Lamu NCCK chair who is also the Arch-Deacon of the Anglican church in Lamu Charles Herya,the council seeks to have the government understand why coastal leaders want to secede before harshly judging them.
Herya said the secession decision arises from the long term historical injustices meted upon the region and which have never been addressed by any given regime.
He said the kind of dictatorial leadership being portrayed and over exploitation of the coast region’s resources were also reason for the secession calls.
He pointed out the fact that many extra-judicial killings of the youth and clerics that took place at the coast have never been explained, have made residents feel they cant trust the government that kills its own people to protect and be fair to them.
“The coast has been thoroughly exploited in all manner of ways.Clerics have been killed in various parts of the coast.Youth have disappeared without a trace after they were reported to have been arrested by police.In such cases,justice has never been served.People feel they aren’t protected.That they cant trust the government to keep them safe.They feel they are better off on their own,”said Herya.
Herya said at the moment,the people of the coast feel left out from the rest of Kenya hence prompting them to harbor the thought of having their own country, where they will get to feel they are part and parcel of the government and all associated processes unlike now.
He said for peace and cohesion to reign in the country,its necessary for each and every region to receive equal amounts of attention from the government in place in order to push out the feeling that some areas are more important than others.
Herya says the coast leaders have every reason to call for secession but added that the government still had the time and chance to fully engage the region.
He says this will make him understand what makes them feel they no longer want to belong to Kenya and subsequently chart ways on how to cultivate inclusiveness of the region and all others in the country.
Herya cited the rampant land injustices at the coast,lack of title deeds,poor infrastructure in various sectors and the general lack of equal representation in government as major reasons behind the push for secession.
“I don’t believe that someone just woke up one day and decided they no longer want to be part of Kenya.This is something that has been brewing over the years.It all boils down to the way people feel they are treated.There is enough reason for people to feel they want their own country but the food news is there is still a chance for the government to sit and listen to those concerns then act accordingly.Historical injustices mist be addressed if peace should reign,”said Herya.
Meanwhile,the youth in Lamu have vowed to back the secession push.
They said the coast has been marginalized for decades and that it was only right the region forms a country of its own.
The Lamu Youth Alliance Chair Mohamed Ali said all successive government have been fond of making empty promises whenever they come to the coast in search of votes but turn a blind eye whenever they get what they want.
Ali said the coastal region has the highest rate of land injustices than any part of Kenya and that successive governments had deliberately decided not to end the practice and that in fact some had made it worse by grabbing and allowing land grabbing at the coast.
“As the youth here,we fully support the calls for secession.We shall be very glad if one day we become a country of our own so that we get to choose our leaders and live our own lives.We have lost so much land more than any other region in the country and no regime has even tried to level matters.It means we have no defender.Our defence only lies in us seceding,”said Ali.