Big Read: A tribe, a nation, a people – or just Kenyans?

Published: 14/Aug/2017
Source: The Star (Nairobi)


A funny thing — funny peculiar, not funny ha ha — happened on Friday, July 21. The President issued something called a gazette notice. Headed ‘Presidential Proclamation’, it said it was a response to petitions (with the s) ‘by the Asian community for formal recognition as a tribe in Kenya’. It was number 7245, supposedly issued as Gazette Number 102 for 2017.

The proclamation cites the Preamble to the 2010 Constitution about being proud of our diversity, and Articles 11 and 44, which, it says, ‘enshrine the duty of government to promote and protect the diverse cultural heritage of Kenya’. The President says he recognises, proclaims and orders that ‘Kenyans of Asian heritage’ constitute a ‘community that is one of the tribes of Kenya’. Also that ‘from now on, they are one of the tribes of Kenya’. Finally, that all ‘persons, bodies and authorities’ in Kenya shall recognise the community as the 44th tribe.


The President has no power to command us to do anything unless he is given legal authority to do so. The only ‘proclamation’ that the President has the power to make that has any legal implication is to call out the reservists when there is a state of emergency. In other words, in terms of law, nothing happened.


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Themes: Discrimination, Ethnic/Racial/Religious
Regions: Kenya
Year: 2017