More than 10,000 members of the Luo community are advocating for a referendum to establish their own separate nation, citing perceived discrimination by the Kenyan government.
In a lawsuit submitted to the Milimani High Court on Monday, representatives from the Luo community, led by Ojijo Ogillo Mark Parscal, are requesting the court to mandate the government, represented by Attorney General Justin Muturi, to facilitate a referendum for the purpose of allowing the Luo community to exit Kenya.
Ojijo is acting as the spokesperson for the over 10,000 petitioners who are demanding a referendum on multiple grounds. Among these reasons is the assertion that the Attorney General (the respondent) has exhibited a pattern of discrimination, profiling, harassment, torture, and oppression against the Luo community.
“We, the Luos of Kenya, guided by Article 20 of the African on Human and People’s Right (as adopted in 1981 in Nairobi, Kenya, and entered into force in 1986), hereby file a complaint with the African Commission on Human and Peoples Right, in Banjul, The Gambia; The United Nations Human Rights office; the East African Court; and the High Court of Kenya; to grant us our human rights of self-determination of forming our own state; as provided for in Article 20 (1) and 20 (2),” the court papers read in parts.
“Over 103 years since the declaration of Kenya as a colony by the colonialists in 1920, and up to 60 years after independence, Luos have consistently been profiled, hated, abused, threatened, tortured and harassed.”
Ojijo is urging the court to grant urgent certification to the application, aiming to accelerate the process of the community’s endeavor to establish its own sovereign state.
“Unless the matter is addressed urgently, the ethnic profiling, discrimination, lack of development, and harassments shall continue and these shall prejudice, harm and limit the applicant’s submission to self-determination,” the Luos said.
The petitioners contend that both current and previous government administrations have perpetuated a culture of impunity, citing alleged instances of manipulated elections that hinder the ability of the Luo community to assume leadership roles and achieve economic progress.
Ojijo argues that the principle of self-determination should be extended to the Luos, as it is enshrined in the constitution.
He asserts that citizens have the inherent right to determine their own destiny in areas encompassing politics, territorial matters, and livelihoods, underscoring the fundamental right to self-determination.
“The right to self-determination consists of Luo rights to freely pursue their economic, social and economic development, ideally through democratic governance,” Ojijo argues.
“Denying the right to self-determination through peaceful means, the Luos may be forced to forceful means to gain their independence leading to loss of life and property,” the petitioners add.
Additionally, the Luos are requesting court orders to prohibit the state from intervening in their pursuits related to self-determination activities.
“An order be issued to the respondent (AG) to give the applicant a date of beginning the self-determination negotiations within the state of Kenya,” Ojijo seeks on behalf of all the 10,000 petitioners.