Narok Senator Olekina warns disgruntled regions in Kenya may push for secession

By , K24 Digital
On Sat, 10 Sep, 2022 11:10 | 3 mins read
Narok Senator Olekina warns disgruntled regions in Kenya may push for secession
Narok Senator Ledama Olekina. PHOTO/Facebook.

Narok Senator Ledama Olekina has warned that sharp divisions caused by the just concluded presidential election could lead some regions in the country to push for secession.

Olekina in a tweet on Saturday, September 10, 2022, argued that the pursuit of civil liberties is what would soon or later lead to the push for secession.

“The pursuit of our civil liberties will one day, maybe in our lifetime lead to secession, unless we all agree to disagree,” Olekina tweeted.

Nasa pushed for secession

Olekina's sentiment echoes a similar suggestion by the then-defunct opposition coalition National Super Alliance (Nasa) which called for secession in 2017 after another divisive presidential election.

A proposal by David Ndii, who was head of the technical team at Nasa, suggested that Kenya should be divided into two states owing to continued hostile election disputes.

Ndii explained that the move by Nasa was persuaded by endless frustrations owing to denial of justice through successive “sham elections”.

Nasa argued that the right to self-determination was enshrined in international law and the principles of state sovereignty and territorial integrity.

However, President Uhuru Kenyatta scoffed at the opposition's calls for secession and warned that stern action will be taken against anyone threatening the country’s peace and stability.

“We will not entertain any language, any action, that threatens our territorial integrity. We can have dialogue, either individually or collectively, but one thing is clear; there is a line, and if you cross it, the law will deal with you,” President Uhuru said on December 14, 2017, while addressing governors and their deputies during their retreat at Diani Reef Hotel in Kwale County.

The Nasa coalition boycotted October 26, 2017, repeat election and vowed not to recognise President Kenyatta’s re-election.

Some of Nasa's leaders pushed for the secession of parts of Kenya.

Homa Bay Town MP Peter Kaluma drafted a Bill seeking the secession of all but seven of Kenya’s 47 counties to form the People’s Republic of Kenya.

Apart from the central region Mt Kenya counties of Nyeri, Murang’a, Kiambu, Kirinyaga, Nyandarua, Embu, and Tharaka-Nithi, Kaluma wanted all the other 40 counties to break away from Kenya, alleging that they have been continually discriminated against by successive governments.

Kaluma, in the draft Bill, alleged that President Kenyatta’s government had “rigged elections, emasculated Parliament, commissions and independent offices, and had run a systemic and systematic suppression of the other groups and communities”.

Ruto, Kibaki threatened to secede

Political leaders have always threatened to secede when they felt their communities were being targeted by the government of the day.

In 1998, then opposition leader Mwai Kibaki led members of his Democratic Party from Central Kenya into calling for secession from the central government.

Speaking in Laikipia, Kibaki was irked by the mass displacement and killing of his supporters, mostly from his ethnic community just before the 1997 General Election.

However, the notion of hiving off the Central Kenya region from the rest of the country fizzled out in 2003 upon Kibaki’s election as Kenya’s third president.

But once in office, the tables turned and it was now members of second President Daniel Arap Moi’s community who were complaining of alleged injustices being meted out on them by the Kibaki administration.

William Ruto, who was then Eldoret North MP, led legislators from the Rift Valley region in protests over members of his community being hounded out of senior positions in government.

Tempers heightened when the Kibaki administration started recovering property initially owned by the Kanu regime, including the Kenya International Convention Centre (KICC), which had served as Kanu headquarters for decades.

But it is the threat to drag retired President Moi to court over land ownership cases that incensed the Ruto team the most.

They issued a terse warning against the move with Ruto threatening that the Rift Valley region would secede.

But the narrative is now completely different since Ruto has been elected President and leaders allied to his political rival Raila Odinga are the ones now hinting at secession.

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