By WILLIS OKETCH
While lifting the ban, the court declared that no evidence has been adduced to prove MRC’s connection to violent crimes and added the group may agitate its agenda through political and legal means.
The separatists group, however, received a blow when the court ruled that their chants, slogans and “agitation for secession” might constitute hate speech, propaganda for war, incitement to violence or advocacy for hatred, which is “unconstitutional and criminal”.
This suggests that MRC’s slogan Pwani Si Kenya may now be deemed treasonable to the extent that it advocates for break up or incites hatred and violence, which the judges said is illegal.
But MRC secretary general Hamza Randu immediately denounced the ruling declaring that the group will continue to push for secession. He further declared that the “suggestion that we register and operate as a party is unacceptable”.
Randu and two other MRC members Robert Charo and Nyae Ngao sued Attorney General Githu Muigai and Internal Security minister the late George Saitoti on November 24 seeking to overturn gazette notice 12585 of October 18 outlawing the group.
Saitoti cited his powers under Prevention of Organised Crimes Act in declaring the ban that has now been lifted with heavy conditions.
On Wednesday, three judges in Mombasa ruled that the gazette notice that outlawed MRC was unconstitutional because State did not prove MRC is threat to security and national stability. Justices John Mwera, Mary Kasango and Francis Tuiyott ruled that MRC has “all the attributes of a political movement” and will be given the opportunity to “fully enjoy their rights” while registered or organised as a political party.
It was a mixed ruling that elated and dismayed MRC’s opponents and supporters in equal measure.
Whereas the group is now free to seek registration as a political movement, it has been warned that it cannot be allowed to demand secession for the coastal strip or dismember the country or even incite hatred.
The details of the ruling read by Justice Tuiyott render MRC’s core demands impossible to achieve since it said lifting the ban is not “a carte blanche to disorder and lawlessness”.
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