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Shona community in Kenya to finally get certificate of citizenship

This follows the move by Kenya to recognize the community as part of Kenyans.

In Summary

• Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiangi will Wednesday grant a certificate of Citizenship to the Shona Community.

• 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.

Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiangi will Wednesday grant a certificate of Citizenship to the Shona Community.

This follows the move by Kenya to recognize the community as part of Kenyans.

The Shona arrived in Kenya in 1959.

Kinoo MCA Samuel Kimani joins members of the Shona Community to cerebrate the Citizenship Certificates issued on Madaraka Day celebrations on June 1, 2020.
Kinoo MCA Samuel Kimani joins members of the Shona Community to cerebrate the Citizenship Certificates issued on Madaraka Day celebrations on June 1, 2020.
Image: GEORGE MUGO

By 1963 when Kenya obtained its independence, 16 families were already in the country having originally migrated from Zimbabwe and Zambia to Kenya as British subjects.

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.

They, therefore, became stateless.

Their descendants inherited this status because the repealed constitution lacked provisions for registered stateless people at birth.

Consequently, they have been unable to own businesses or work in Kenya.

The UNHCR estimates that there are approximately 12 million stateless people in the world, with over 715,000 living in Africa.

As part of the Government efforts to address statelessness in the country, about 15,000 people from the Makonde Community were issued birth certificates and their identity was regularized following a 2016 Presidential directive.