Uhuru agrees to meet MRC

PRESIDENT Uhuru Kenyatta has said he will meet Mombasa Republican Council members on condition that they denounce violence.

The President who yesterday met Kaya elders from all the nine clans of the Mijikenda community said he is ready to meet the MRC through them.

Uhuru hosted the elders led by former cabinet minister Chirau Ali Mwakwere at State House Mombasa before he left for Nairobi.

The MRC allegedly sent the elders to request audience with the President over peace matters.

The group has been linked to a series of attacks at the Coast before, during and after the March 4 election. It is also linked to calls for boycott of the polls under the group’s slogan ‘Pwani si Kenya’.

President Kibaki’s government launched a crackdown on the group leading to the arrest of its leaders. “We will forget the past if MRC ends violence,” Uhuru told the Kaya elders.

The group has been citing historical injustices at the Coast by former regimes with land being their main concern.

However, Uhuru who last week issued 60,000 title deeds to Coast residents and promised to resolve land problems at the Coast.

Kaya elders said their shrines have been destroyed and called for their restoration.

Speaking on behalf of the elders, Mwakwere said destruction of Kayas is taboo as they are sacred forests for the Mijikenda.

“Kayas should be restored. We also want the government to build three cultural centres like Bomas of Kenya. Two in Kilifi and one in Kwale,” Mwakwere said.

He said this will not only boost tourism but help preserve the culture of the respective communities.

The President however assured the elders that the government will work with them and Coast residents to ensure issues of concern in the region are resolved.

Uhuru said Lands Secretary Charity Ngilu will work with elders from the region to ensure restoration of Kaya land.

Leaders of various Kayas said they support the issuance of titles in the region.

They said resolving the land question is the best gift coast residents have got since independence

– the-star.co.ke

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