Leaders in Taita Taveta have castigated the debate on Secession by the opposition.
Led by the Natural Resources Permanent Secretary Dr. Margaret Mwakima the leaders emphasized that such talks were a threat to the development they were currently enjoying.
Former Governor John Mruttu, vehemently opposed the succession of the Coast region discussion by Governors Hassan Joho (Mombasa) and Amason Kingi (Kilifi).
They instead fully supported the formation of the Jumuiya Ya Kaunti za Pwani (JKP) saying the proposed integration process was the only way to help resolve the myriad problems facing the local community.
We do not want to see whatever chaos happening in other parts of the country being repeated here as we are a peace-loving people and indeed if the issue was let to thrive in our region it would not only divide the country but would also create instability, echoed all the leaders.
They were addressing a ‘tree for peace campaign organized by Tsavo Heritage Foundation which saw wananchi plant trees at Maktau primary school Tuesday.
Mwakima noted that the idea of separating certain communities from others would only prompt tribalism and hatred amongst a people who have been co-existing harmoniously with each other since time immemorial.
Dr. Mwakima asked the coastal communities to be wary of some dishonest politicians who are out to isolate them from the rest of the country for their selfish interests.
Mruttu on his part claimed separation would divide Kenyans and destabilize the country and should be shunned by all Kenyans.
The debate which is being advanced by our two governors should be rejected by all peace loving wananchi. If supported then investors would shun our region, cautioned Mruttu.
Mruttu said a few individuals cannot decide for the region and time had come for leaders to work together for the benefit of our people.
He said they would resist attempts by some dishonest politicians out to derail the realization of Jumuiya Ya Kaunti za Pwani,a tool for socio-economic development.
Present at the meeting included the County Commission Kula Hache, Senator Jones Mwaruma and MPs Jones Mlolwa (Voi) and Danson Mwashako among Senior County and National Government officials.
However, Mlolwa was of the opinion that those advancing the secession debate should be listened to as they had valid reasons which ought not be ignored.
The Voi legislator caused uproar among the gathering when he said there were problems in the country and the coast region and that is why the leaders were advocating for self-rule.
Mlolwa who was re-elected on an ODM ticket said self-determination for the coastal region was necessary for socio-economic development and those against it are enemies of the coastal communities.
Other legislators in the county supporting the idea includeMr. Mwaruma, Mwashako and Mwatate MP Andrew Mwadime. County Governor Granton Samboja is yet to declare his political stand on the issue.
Mwaruma and Mwashako who drummed up support for secession said there were pertinent issues affecting the community such as the squatter issues, high poverty and unemployment levels that successive governments had not adequately addressed.
The opposition legislators said they were reaching out to people at the grass root level to explain to them about the importance of secession.
Mr.Mwashako noted that despite the region being endowed with resources including mineral deposits, wildlife and water bodies like Mzima springs, Challa and Jipe lakes, residents were still living in abject poverty leaving the resources to benefit outsiders.
About 80 percent of gemstone mining is carried out in the region but there is nothing to show for it in terms of development, he said.
Mwashako noted the coastal communities are living as squatters as huge chunks of their land are owned by private farms.
He insisted peace would only be achieved if the government tackles the thorny squatter issue, high poverty and unemployment levels in the region.
During the tree planting ceremony discussions on food insecurity, poor standards of education and persistent human wildlife conflict took centre stage.
Other issues that featured prominently at the meeting included the poor road network and health infrastructures in the region that was adversely affecting investment.
Source: Kenya News Agency