Kenya officially gets the 43rd tribe
The Makonde Community living in Kenya can now breathe a sigh of relief after the Cabinet passed a resolution to give them nationality.
The community living in coastal parts of the country, mainly Kwale County, have for a long time pursued recognition as Kenyan citizens by the government.
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The decision to legally accept their citizenship was reached in the seventh Cabinet meeting on Thursday, October 13, 2016 chaired by President Uhuru Kenyatta.
The community had on Tuesday, October 11, 2016 embarked on a long walk dubbed ‘A walk for the Stateless’ from Kwale County, in South Coast to State House, Nairobi with an aim of airing their predicaments to President Kenyatta.
The Makonde community has on many occasions appeared in the media complaining of being discriminated on account of being ‘illegitimate’ Kenyans.
Their major grievance has been lack of National Identity Cards that among other things has robbed them; suffrage right, employment and access to government services.
The Community was brought into Kenya by British administrators in 1940s to provide labour force in the colonisers’ agricultural fields along the coastal strip.
At the time of independence, in 1963, the Makonde people were not recognised as one of the Kenyan tribes and were, therefore, denied citizenship.
The Constitution of Kenya 2010, the Citizenship and Immigration Act No. 12 of 2011, provide for registration of stateless people living in the country.
However, Makonde have being unable to utilise that opportunity majorly due to lack of supporting documents.
Makonde people have since independence spread out and settled in various parts of the Kenyan Coast including Kwale, Taita Taveta, Lamu and Kilifi counties.