…By Roland Peterson for TDPel Media.
Kenya’s opposition politicians, led by Raila Odinga, have recently advocated for secession, seeking to split the country into two republics.
The move is driven by discontent with President William Ruto’s leadership, and Odinga, who received significant support in the 2022 presidential election, aims to create a new state for dissatisfied Kenyans.
A History of Secessionist Movements:
Calls for secession are not new in Kenya.
Even before gaining independence from Britain in 1963, some Kenyan Somalis had expressed a desire to join Somalia.
In the 1990s, the Mombasa Republican Council was established, advocating for an independent state for the coastal people, citing marginalization.
Similar demands for secession were made by opposition groups following the 2007-08 post-election violence and in the lead-up to the 2013 elections.
In 2017, a bill was even proposed in parliament to create a People’s Republic of Kenya.
The Concept of Self-Determination:
Secessionist movements often arise from a belief that certain groups within a region or state are unable to exercise their right to self-determination.
This right, recognized by the United Nations, allows groups to determine their own political status and independence.
When internal self-determination is denied, some groups may seek secession.
Challenges and Perspectives:
The author, a legal scholar and economist, argues that any unilateral declaration of independence in Kenya is unlikely to receive support within the continent.
Moreover, the politicians advocating for secession have yet to demonstrate systematic denial of rights in government and the economy for aggrieved groups.
The African Union, formed in 1963, has consistently opposed secession, emphasizing the preservation of colonial borders and territorial integrity.
The Case of South Sudan:
The example of South Sudan’s secession in 2011 is cited, where the push for independence was based on systematic marginalization and denial of rights by the Sudanese government.
The peaceful separation was supported by a peace agreement following a brutal civil war, highlighting the importance of addressing grave and systematic injustices.
Constitutional Processes and Decentralization:
The author suggests that national governments can establish constitutional mechanisms to address grievances and allow peaceful processes for internal self-determination, as seen in the UK and Canada.
In Kenya, the devolution of power to 47 regions under the 2010 constitution has provided opportunities for various groups to govern themselves and participate in their own development.Share on Facebook «||» Share on Twitter «||» Share on Reddit «||» Share on LinkedIn