Kenya issues National IDs to Shona Community
The government of Kenya has issued certificates of citizenship to the Shona Community after long decades of waiting since 1959.
The process was conducted by Interior Cabinet Secretary Dr Fred Matiang’i on Wednesday and 1,649 members of the community received the certificates.
“It takes leadership to get to this point. When President Kenyatta came to office in 2013 he determined that during his term, will end statelessness in this country and we are on our way to completing that Job,” said CS Matiangi.
Speaking at the Windsor Hotel in Kiambu County, CS Matiangi promised to end the stalemate of stateless communities in the country by end of the year in line with Human Rights and International Conventions.
Shona community arrived in Kenya from Zimbabwe (then known as Southern Rhodesia and later Rhodesia) as Christian missionaries in the 1960s.
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Because they were no longer residents in their countries of birth, they were not able to register there, thus rendering them stateless.
By then, only 16 families were already in the country having originally migrated from Zimbabwe and Zambia to Kenya as British subjects.
And because they were unable to prove their legal ties to their countries of origin as required by legislation governing the registration of births and citizenship, they lost their Zimbabwe and Zambian citizenship and they, therefore, became stateless.
Matiangi also hinted out that the Directorate of Immigration Services, the National Registration Bureau (NRB), and the Department of Civil Registration will confer citizenship on the Sagaf community of Tana River.
The community will be the last batch of stateless persons in the country targeted for the exercise.
According to United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Kenya is home to an estimated 18,500 stateless persons, most of whom are members of ethnic minority groups.
The UN body estimates that there are approximately 12 million stateless people in the world, with over 715,000 living in Africa.