Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho and his Kilifi counterpart Amason Kingi have hit back at President Uhuru Kenyatta over his warning against secession debate, and dared him to arrest them.
Last week, the President warned that stern action would be taken against anyone threatening the country’s peace and stability. In an apparent reference to calls by the opposition for secession and plans to swear in Nasa leader Raila Odinga as ‘people’s president’, the Head of State said those who “cross the line” will not be tolerated.
“We will not entertain any language, any action that threaten our territorial integrity,” he told governors and their deputies at Diani Reef Hotel in Kwale.
But speaking on Sunday during the Coast people’s assembly convention at Sun n Sand Beach Resort in Kilifi, Mr Joho said they would not be cowed by the threats.
Mr Kingi said “any attempt to arrest them will fuel the fire”, adding that they will not give up on their secession plans.
“Only a fool can ignore this talk. You cannot speak of threatening the territorial integrity forgetting to touch on the dignity of human being. We will not stop talking until our people get their rights,” said Mr Joho. Mr Joho announced that the first convention on secession will be held by mid-January.
He said at least 1,200 delegates will be identified from the six coastal counties to discuss on the road map to realise the self determination plans.
Mr Kingi said the threats by the President were not new, saying his father, former President Jomo Kenyatta, issued the same warning when the talk on secession came up during his tenure.
“What we heard from him (Mr Kenyatta) is exactly what his father did. Different words with the same meaning. This struggle is not new…” said Mr Kingi.
He said they have deliberately minimised public appearance as they focus on the secession issue. “I told Joho that secession talk is not going to be based on television shows. We have gone silent because we want to bring forward something tangible when we finish our plans,” he said.
The two vocal governors have of late not been seen engaging in any political debate after they announced the call for secession in October. Mr Kingi said their silence was deliberate. “We know when we start talking about our plans, they will get to know them and frustrate us.”
He added: “We have already engaged lawyers, both local and international, to pursue this matter. We are engaging in a lawful exercise.”
We will move on with this talk on legal basis.”
Senator James Orengo attacked Mr Kenyatta and dared him to order for the arrest of the two leaders who are driving the talk on self determination.
“We are the ones who will take him (uhuru) further than the court if he tries to threaten Joho and Kingi on calls for self determination.
We are the one who have drawn the red line which he should not cross. He does not know that he is the one who is on the wrong side of the constitution,” added Mr Orengo.
All copyrights for this article are reserved to Daily Nation