Kenya: The Pemba people struggle to belong in the land they call home

Published: 17/Nov/2017
Source: The Nation (Kenya)


The 14th century was a golden age in the East African coast. It was also the age of discovery. The coast was one belt. It stretched from Zanzibar, Pemba, and Mombasa to Malindi. During that period, the Portuguese arrived in the Kenyan Coast.


“We all live in different villages namely Kichakamwkaju, Kibuyuni, Chwakwa fikirini, Mwambao, Mukuyuni, Bondo,Serasi, Funzi, Msambweni, Gazi, Kinondo, Shalishali, Marafa, Ngongoni, Likomi, Ukunda among others. We are constantly rounded up and arrested for lack of Kenyan identity.”

Wanja Lisa Munaita, an Assistant Protection Officer (Statelessness) with UNHCR says that a large of people affected by statelessness in Kenya are children.

As a result of denied citizenship, stateless people miss on education, they can’t see a doctor, get a formal job, open a bank account ,own property, or even register a phone sim card and are denied other important rights. The Pemba, a community of 4000 hope their cry will be heard.

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