‘Abaluhya secession’ petition filed at the High Court

The High Court in Nairobi
The High Court in Nairobi

Two Kenyans have filed a petition seeking to be granted authority to conduct a referendum to allow the Abaluhya (Luhya) community secede from Kenya.

The due, Mathew Okwanda Mwilista and Alex Misingo Matisha from the Abaluya community, claim that their community has been subjected to poverty and underdevelopment because they were never part of the territory known as Kenya.

They argue that the community has similarly been marginalized economically, socially, culturally and politically and labelled as professional “cooks and watchmen”.

Further, they claim that the Luhya community comprising 20 distinct clans has no meaningful and sustainable development to be proud of in their territory, and no pro-active steps have been undertaken by any regime to ameliorate their degrading situation.

“Since the said merger of the people comprising the former Eastern Province of Uganda, the said community has undergone severe discrimination, and victimization in job allocation and general development funding,” reads the petition filed at the High Court.

Eastern Province of Uganda

The duo argue that the Luhya leaders voiced their concerns in writing to the Lancaster House Conference talks on Kenya’s Independence in 1960 but their plea has been ignored to date by subsequent governing regimes.

They also contend that that inhabitants of the said former Eastern Province of Uganda have never since the time of the alleged transfer of their territory experienced any fair, cultural, social and economic development save, severe marginalization, and economic underdevelopment in all sectors.

The two petitioners claim that the merger of the former Eastern Province of Uganda with the British East Africa Protectorate was illegal, and the same violated the United Nations Charter and the United Nations Governing Assembly Resolution No. 1514 (XV) of December 14, 1960.

In the petition, they say that the government of the United Kingdom by design failed to resolve the Luhya Question when it was in a position to do so before granting independence to the British East Africa Protectorate, and therefore is liable to pay reparations for the anguish and sorrow suffered by the Luhya up to date.

They claim that the territory known as the former Eastern Province of Uganda situate in the then territory known as the Uganda Protectorate under the British Colonial administration was irregularly transferred to the former British East Africa Protectorate (now Kenya).

“The inhabitants of the former Eastern Province of Uganda were never consulted over the irregular transfer of their territory to the former British East Africa Protectorate now known as Kenya,” argue the two.

The petitioners claim that there is no actual boundary on the ground to re-affirm, and/or establish the said transfer of the former Eastern Province of Uganda for the alleged boundary was artificial and done on paper between two former British Colonial administrators who had no regard for the inhabitants of the said territory.

Government of United Kingdom, Office of the President and the Attorney-General have been listed as respondents in the case. Other respondents include Ministry of Devolution and Planning and the Uganda government.

High Court Judge, Chacha Mwita, directed the petitioners to serve the petition to the respondents and appear for directions on October 18 this year.

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Story By Dzuya Walter
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