• The Pemba community are known for their diving and fishing skills over the years.
• Kilifi county Pemba community chairman Shahame Khamis said no member of the community went for the exercise because they were not aware.
Members of the Pemba community, which was on July 28 awarded Kenyan citizenship, have been encouraged to participate in the ongoing Kenya Defence Forces recruitment.
Lt Col Maurice Nyaga, one of the senior officers leading the exercise at the Coast, said the community should not shy away from grabbing any opportunity offered by the government.
Speaking at Karisa Maitha grounds during the recruitment, Nyaga said the community will have equal rights as other Kenyans.
“Right now, we are just dealing with divisions but I would encourage them to make sure they come for these exercises. If they qualify, we have no reason for not picking them,” he said.
Kilifi county Pemba community chairman Shahame Khamis said no member of the community went for the exercise because they were not aware of the recruitment date in Kilifi.
“We have some youths with the qualifications but they did not go. We were told the exercise will be on September 6, but we realised late that it was on September 5. We will keep on going for government opportunities because we are now bona fide Kenyans,” he said
Shahame said some youths from Kwale were locked out because they arrived late.
“Our livelihoods are in the sea, so the youths went for fishing but when they reached the venue for the exercise it was already late. We understood this because it was not only the Pemba people who were locked out but anyone who went there late was not allowed,” he added.
He, however, said very few people from the community qualify due to education levels.
“Because we were not recognised as Kenyans, it has not been easy for our children to advance in school. Most of them have gone to primary level and very few have gone to high school,” Shahame said.
The chairman said the issuance of ID cards to the community is going on well.
“Most of us have received our IDs while some have waiting cards. We are not facing any challenges so far,” he said.
The Pembe community are known for their diving and fishing skills over the years.
They spend most of their life fishing in the deep sea.