The recent months have put the normally dormant Coast province in the spotlight. It is not news that gladdens the heart or glorifies the nation. It is of turmoil, tension and terror. First it was Tana River and the blodletting between the Pokomo and Orma. More that 100 lives snuffed out in a spate politically instigated mindless killings as politicians raced to blame each other, before the press, in the wake of the violence. After the madness, the fearsome GSU were sent to contain the situation.
Their shift in the Tana had politicians crying foul claiming the force was harassing residents. Ironically it aws the same politicians who were calling for their deployment, who wanted their withdrawal. As the violence in the Tana was raging, Sheikh Aboud Rogo, a controversial muslim cleric was shot in Mombasa, sparking three days of riotous protests. the anarchy resulted in churches being razed to the ground, disruption of businesses, injuries, police deaths and the issuance of the ever overhanging travel advisories by the mighty West.Now to the toast of the bunch; the MRC, the Mombasa Republican Council.. This is a beast that has grown before our very own eyes, from the days it would be news hidden deep in newspaper articles to now grabbing headlines.The MRC, whose motivation is their calls for secession of the Coast province, had caused tension with threats of disrupting national exams and the March 4th general election, their threat to interfere with the former led to a violent crackdown of the secessionist group which culminated in the arrest of their president, spokesperson and Sheik Mohamed Dor, the most high profile figure to be nabbed for publically supporting the group.The operation has not been without deaths as a sub chief was killed in retaliation as members of the group were also felled in the swoop to crush the MRC. The group, which was unproscribed thanks to a court ruling, was deemed responsible for an attack on Fishieries Minister Amason Kingi, in which four people succumbed to machete wounds including the Minister's bodyguard. The crackdown on terror suspects continues to take shape as families come out to protest arrests of their kin.While some of these tumultuous events lie in the past, it is cause for concern that for a province carrying the tourism capital of the country and brings in sizable revenue for the country can burst into chaos. The continual marginalisation of the coastal people manifested itself. the grinding poverty and historical injustices especially on land, which the MRC uses as a caveat for self rule, has fashioned illegal groupings which fight for their survival and are for ready use as political instruments for violence and intimidation.
Years of ignorance by successive governments are now blowing on the nation's collective face, it's little wonder that there is turmoil at the coast.