• The first Shonas arrived in Kenya in 1961 as missionaries.
• They have since multiplied and those that have been recorded by KHRC are 4,500.
The government should register all stateless people living in the country and issue them with ID cards, the Kenya Human Rights Commission has said.
KHRC programme officer Irene Soila said there are 20,000 stateless people in the country.
"These people have been trying to get citizenship, but unfortunately the government has not considered them yet," Soila said in Nairobi while distributing donations to the Shona community.
Soila said that the Shona community has faced many challenges and should be considered for citizenship.
She said that the community is at risk of being left behind by other citizens because they cannot access some of the basic needs due to lack of documents.
“They cannot own a sim card and they cannot even open bank accounts because they do not have national identity cards,” Soila said.
She asked the government to provide them with food because the majority of them are jobless and depend on informal jobs that have become hard to find.
During the event, Nosizi Dube who sat her KCSE exam last year said she had endured great hardship since she started schooling.
"When the time came to register for my KCPE exam, I had no birth certificate. My mother was duped to pay Sh3,500 by someone who claimed that he could help her secure one, only to realise later that they were fake,’ Dube said.
She said her teachers and the KNHRC helped her get her birth certificate but she has yet to get her national identity card.
“I have not been allowed to own a national identity card despite being born and raised in Kenya,” Dube said.
She is worried she could miss out on her place to study economics at the University of Nairobi.
Dube said that she hopes the Ministry of Education will intervene so her dreams come true.
Secretary general for the Shona community Oliver Muregerera appealed to the government to give them citizenship so they can enjoy all the rights like other citizens.
“If the government gives us citizenship, we will be able to own property. We have been tenants from 1961 and we are afraid that all our generations will just be like us,” Muregerera said.
The first Shonas arrived in Kenya in 1961 as missionaries. They have since multiplied and those that have been recorded by KHRC are 4,500.