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Rift Valley Institute

Making local knowledge work

Cultural Identity: Kenya and the coast

Cultural Identity: Kenya and the coast

During 2010 and 2011, a secessionist campaign led by a group calling itself the Mombasa Republican Council (MRC) dominated debates about coastal politics. As a result of local grievances, the MRC’s call for secession attracted a degree of public sympathy on the coast. 

Debates emerged that portrayed two contrasting images of Kenya: the inclusive nation which embraces the coast, and a distinctive up-country world which is culturally and politically remote from the coast. 

On 7 December 2016, the Rift Valley Forum and Kwani Trust hosted a public forum in Mombasa to discuss the place of the Kenyan coast in Kenya’s public imagination, and how this has shaped attitudes, media representations, and most importantly, government policy on the coast, including current security strategies, land and infrastructure. 

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