ORIGINS IN ZIMBABWE

Stateless Shona ask Uhuru to grant citizenship

Citizenship granted to Makonde; Shona denied back rights or education, healthcare, doing business

In Summary

•Their country does not recognise them as 90% were born in Kenya

•Cannot access education or even register for Huduma Namba;  in Kenya since 1960s

President Uhuru Kenyatta speaks during the official opening of the 4th session of UNEA at Gigiri on Thursday, March 14, 2019.
President Uhuru Kenyatta speaks during the official opening of the 4th session of UNEA at Gigiri on Thursday, March 14, 2019.
Image: PSCU

As Kenyans acquire  Huduma Namba, the Shona community that has lived in the country for 60 years wants the government to grant them citizenship so they can register.

The Shona community from Zimbabwe migrated to the country in the 1960s and founded the Gospel of God Church.

The community, which is estimated to have a population of 5,000, claims the past governments of Jomo Kenyatta, Daniel  Moi and Mwai Kibaki had promised to help them acquire citizenship.

The community is spread across Kinoo, Muguga, Gitaru and Githurai wards in Kiambu county as well as parts of Nairobi. 

Kinoo MCA Samuel Kimani Wanjiku met the community several times and prepared a successful motion to grant them citizenship.

The motion sailed through.

The assembly has called upon President Uhuru Kenyatta to give them citizenship as was done for the Makonde ethnic group of the Coast region last year. 

Kimani said the community has been exposed to human rights violations like police harassment, lack of freedom of movement and lack of access to government and private services.

Kinoo MCA Samuel Kimani speaking to the press as Limuru East MCA Ngige Karuga looks on.
Kinoo MCA Samuel Kimani speaking to the press as Limuru East MCA Ngige Karuga looks on.
Image: GEORGE MUGFO

"These people cannot register a business or enter the formal job market. They can't own property, access education, health care, financial services and relief supplies among other vital human needs," the MCA said.

He said the community has integrated with residents through marriage, adding that they speak Kikuyu fluently.

The ward rep said their country of origin can't recognise them as 90 per cent of them were born in Kenya.

Children do not enjoy their right to education at all levels and yet Article 53 of the Constitution and the Children's Act 2001, guarantees all children rights to nationality, basic education, healthcare and protection.

"They have challenges of acquiring birth certificates for their children to be enrolled in nursery schools, register for KCPE and KCSE too," he said.

The community does weaving, carpentry and casual jobs.

Many fall prey to fraudsters who trick them into buying properties and vehicles under their names only to vanish.