NCIC to Raila: Stop secession talk, you are endangering Kenya

NCIC chairman Rev Samuel Kobia and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga.

NCIC chairman Rev Samuel Kobia and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga.

Photo credit: FIle

The National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) has warned that threats of secession by the opposition over alleged tribal State appointments could trigger violence in the country if not stopped.

The commission said secession was not an option as it could take years to recover, as evidenced in countries that have gone down that road.

Last week, former Prime Minister Raila Odinga during the Yatta Two declaration threatened to write to the United Nations to secede from the Ruto-led State over marginalisation and biased government appointments.

“We will write to UN for self-determination so that every Kenyan community can feel completely they are part of the government,” he declared at Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka’s home where the coalition termed President William Ruto’s government as oppressive and insensitive to the plight of Kenyans.

But NCIC chairman Rev Samuel Kobia warned on Wednesday that secession was not the way to go even if the opposition felt aggrieved.

“Seeing as we have serious threats to our national cohesion, harmony and integration as a country, the Commission unreservedly supports bi-partisan talks as a political solution, but wishes to emphasise that Kenyans need a broader space to hold dialogue," he said.

He announced that the commission will set up spaces and platforms for national conversations on economic prosperity, political stability and social cohesion citing the bi-partisan talks' inability to wholly address concerns being raised by Kenyans.

The commission said it will seek to address the claims of unbalanced appointments in the public service by making recommendations to the affected departments once an ongoing ethnic audit in government is complete.

"Section 7(1) will guide NCIC & (2) of the NCI Act 2008 that state; all state-owned firms shall seek to represent the diversity of the people of Kenya in the employment of staff and no public institution shall have more than one-third of its staff from the same community," said Rev Kobia while flanked by his Deputy Wambui Nyutu and a host of other commissioners.

Resisting public servants

“It is worrying that some leaders are resisting public servants, especially teachers from other ethnic communities from being deployed in their regions. This is not only a threat to cohesion but is archaic, unconstitutional and crass,” he added.

The NCIC audit will be extended to county governments to ensure compliance with the constitution.

The commission further warned that rising cases of religious extremism and intolerance and the re-emergence of organised criminal gangs are also likely to fuel violence in the country.

Without giving names, Rev Kobia said the gangs that are reemerging are the same ones it took note of slightly before the August elections and which had been previously proscribed in 2010 and 2016.

"We are aware that the menace of organised criminal gangs is turning out to be a ‘crime industry’ with significant interaction with the political class. We, therefore, put politicians who use such gangs on notice that we are investigating and will take action," Prof Kobia added.

Following the regrettable Shakahola tragedy, the Commission said it is in full support of President Ruto’s decision to form a task force to identify gaps and propose legal and governance changes to prevent religious extremism.

In regards to the rising use of hate speech and incitement remarks by politicians on either side of the political divide, the commission said it is handling six cases and warned vernacular radio stations that are fanning incitement of action.

Two politicians have since honoured summons including Gatundu South MP Gabriel Kagombe who recorded a statement with the commission on Wednesday morning. Three whose names were not released are yet to honour summons.