MRC unleash terror on Kenyan Minister
By Linah Benyawa and Joseph Masha, Posted October 7, 2012
Five people, including the bodyguard of Fisheries Minister Amason Jeffah Kingi, were killed last evening at a remote village in Mtwapa in Kilifi County when armed assailants interrupted a meeting he was addressing.
Harrison Maitha, who was Kingi’s bodyguard, died protecting the minister from the machete attack at Mtomondoni village. Maitha’s hands were severed, according to witnesses, from the impact of the force of the machete intended for the minister’s head.
He sustained several deep wounds on the rest of his body, and was pronounced dead on arrival at Jocham Hospital in Kisauni, Mombasa. Lying limp were three bodies of the assailants with charms and amulets around their necks several metres apart. The attackers, who were lynched by villagers, are believed to have come from Kwale in the South Coast.
A fifth assailant was killed outside the first scene of violence, according to reports reaching The Standard late last night.
Kingi escaped on foot as villagers fought the attackers. He met youths who hid him for one and a half hours before police arrived. The minister was taken to Jocham Hospital. By the time of going to press, his car was parked at Mtwapa Police headquarters.
But not so lucky was retired judge Steward Madzayo who was slashed in the head, according to Kilifi Officer Commanding Police Division (OCPD) Clement Wangai, who claimed there were no police officers during the fracas, allegedly because organisers of the meeting had not informed security authorities.
“The police were not aware of this meeting,” Wangai claimed, as he blamed poor preparation for the violence adding, “if we had information we would have provided security”.
Mazdayo was treated at the Mopri Medical Centre in Mtwapa and discharged. Prime Minister Raila Odinga said those behind the attack must be pursued, arrested, and prosecuted.
“This act of hooliganism and terror stands condemned. It has no place in the society Kenyans are struggling and sacrificing to create. It is a misguided agitation that would not be tolerated,” he warned last evening in a statement to newsrooms.
The PM sent a message of condolence to the families and friends of those who had died in the skirmishes.
“I say sorry also to Hon Amason Kingi who escaped from this attack, but lost his body guard and to Stewart Madzayo, who was also a victim in this attack,” he added.
Last evening Madzayo told The Standard he blocked a machete attack on him with a table and confirmed Kingi fled the violence on foot.
The motive and identity of the attackers is not known, but suspicion has fallen immediately on the separatist Mombasa Republican Council (MRC). Reports indicated that one of the assailants shouted MRC’s separatist slogan, Pwani si Kenya (Coast Province is not Kenya).
The invasion of the minister’s meeting came less than 24 hours after he launched a bold attack on MRC and its financers, accusing them of harbouring a “hidden agenda” for Coast Province.
The fracas occurred at around 3.30pm at Mtomondoni village where Kingi and Madzayo were addressing motorcycle riders. According to Wangai, trouble started when an unnamed man tried to snatch a microphone from the master of ceremonies.
Reports showed that the man came to the meeting with a machete, which he unleashed as he struggled to grab the microphone.
A witness told The Standard the assailant unleashed the weapon as if to attack the minister prompting his bodyguard to block it with his hand, which was severed in the process.
“One of them shouted, ‘Pwani Si Kenya’,” said a witness at Mtomondoni, a claim confirmed by relatives of scores of those injured.
Other attackers emerged from within the crowd and began to attack youths attending the meeting.
Earlier, Kingi had urged local residents to ignore calls by what he described as financers of the secessionist MRC to boycott the General Election.
“Financiers of the MRC have a hidden agenda in calling for a poll boycott because Coast residents can only achieve meaningful change through elections,” said Kingi on Thursday.
Kingi said the new Constitution “which the people of Coast Province supported” in the August 2010 referendum, promises a new beginning and opportunity to solve the region’s historical and development problems.
He cited the National Land Commission (NLC) created by the new charter as one of the opportunities for reform, but added that Coast Province can only solve its problems through constitutional and legal means, including elections, but never by secession.
The minister, who is also MP for Magarini, said this when addressing rallies at Chumani, Roka Maweni, and Uyombo in Kilifi when he met fishermen and inspected fishponds his ministry funds.
MRC wants Coast Province to secede, alleging that three colonial agreements allowed it to determine its destiny. It has also urged local people not to participate in the March 4 General Elections.
MRC has been accused of binding local people with oaths to destroy their identity cards and execute the poll boycott agenda. But on Thursday Kingi said that much as the indigenous coastal communities were hardest hit by lack of land ownership, the advocacy by MRC for secession of region was wrong.
“Coastal people are worst hit with historical injustices like failure to be allocated land and get issued with title deeds, but the idea of MRC to direct us to boycott the General Election as they push for separation of the region from the rest of the country is not in order,” said Mr Kingi.
The minister further said most of the concerns of MRC are well addressed in the new Constitution. He said there is no cause for panic as far as addressing historical injustices is concerned.
The minister said the National Land Commission’s main task is to investigate cases of land irregularly acquired by private developers, and return it to the Government for re-allocation to the landless.
“Local people should participate in elections and elect leaders who would use the Constitution and the National Land Commission to address land issues,” said Kingi.
Kingi said the forces behind MRC are using the organisation and its members to meet a secret agenda and also the alleged colonial agreements covered only the historical ten-mile coastal strip and not the entire province.
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