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Why State declined to register Mombasa Republican Council

By Patrick Beja | Updated Wed, October 22nd 2014 at 00:00 GMT +3

MOMBASA COUNTY: The Government has rejected a request for registration by the separatist Mombasa Republican Council (MRC), prompting its leaders to appeal to the Attorney General.

The request and rejection occurred in July this year but only became known following last week's arrest of MRC leader Omar Mwamnwadzi and 12 others who have been charged with illegal assembly.

Tuesday, MRC reported that the letter rejecting the application for registration only reached the group in September.

According to documents seen by The Standard, MRC leaders applied to be registered as a society and not a political party. Last week, MRC Secretary General Hamza Ruwa told The Standard that Mwamnwadzi was arrested a day after signing papers seeking to appeal the rejection for registration.

The Standard has learnt the Deputy Registrar of Societies Joseph Onyango refused to register MRC on the grounds that peace, welfare and good order in the country would suffer prejudice if the group was allowed to organise as a society.

In a letter dated July 22, Onyango gave MRC 30 days to appeal to Attorney General Githu Muigai under section 15 (1) (b) of the Societies Act.

DROP SLOGAN

Onyango explained in the letter that the refusal to register the Coast-based group was in accordance with Section 11 of the Societies Act. "The registrar has reasonable cause to believe that the interests of peace, welfare or good order in Kenya would be likely to suffer prejudice by reason of your registration as a society," said Onyango in the signed letter.

In September 2009, the Government banned MRC alongside groups like Mungiki but its members successfully challenged the decision in the High Court and the ban was lifted in mid 2012.

In its ruling lifting the ban, the court however asked MRC to either register itself as a political party or a society, in which its leaders opted for the latter.

The court also ordered MRC to drop its 'Pwani si Kenya' slogan that put it at loggerheads with the Government as the group called for secession of the Coast from the rest of Kenya.

MRC leaders said they received the letter on September 15 this year, prompting them to appeal to the AG. The appeal document dated October 15 is signed by Mwamnwadzi, Ruwa and a member Abdallah Sheikh, who describe themselves as 'former officers' of MRC.

In the appeal, the leaders want the deputy registrar to disclose the reason for refusing to register their group and why he never consulted them before making the decision, adding they were entitled to a fair administration action under Article 47 of the Constitution.

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