Two file case asking for Luhya community self-rule

Judges gavel (Photo: Courtesy)

The secession debate spilled over to the courts on Monday when two western Kenya residents sought the region's independence from Kenya.

Mathew Okwanda and Alex Misigo want the High Court to issue orders forcing the State to carry out a referendum on whether the Luhya community should have a country of their own.

According to the two, the British Government gave them a deaf ear when they asked for their own kingdom under the then Abaluhya ruler, Nabongo Mumia.

They claim that Luhya land, during the colonial times, was part of Uganda and was given to Kenya - then a British protectorate - against the communuity's will. They claimed that the western region has been sidelined since 1960. 

“Inhabitants of the said former Eastern Province of Uganda have never - since the time of the alleged transfer of their territory - experienced any fair, cultural, socia,l and economic development save severe marginalisation and economic underdevelopment in all sectors,” the court papers read.

The first petitioner, Mr Okwanda, hails from Kakamega County while Mr Misigo lives in Vihiga County. The British Government is named as a respondent with claims that it merged the region with the country without consulting local residents.

Uganda and Kenya were also named as respondents and it is alleged they contributed to the destabilising of the Abaluhya kingdom. They claim: “The community of the petitioners are at liberty to be belligerent and engage themselves in an armed struggle in order to agitate for their cause and right to self-determination.”