Mozambicans living in Kenya for 60 years refuse envoys call to vote in Mozambique’s election

Published: 30/Jul/2014
Source: The Standard (Nairobi)

By Tobias Chanji

KWALE COUNTY: A meeting convened by the Mozambican ambassador Floriano Maneno to quell the growing dissent among Makonde community of Kwale and his Government turned chaotic at Jomo Kenyatta Primary School on Sunday after they split in two.

Half of the estimated 40,000 Makonde people who trace their roots to Mozambique support efforts by Mozambique’s effort to register them to vote in that country’s October polls and eventually repatriate them to the Southern Africa country but the rest want to be given Kenyan citizenship after intermarrying with Kenyans and living in Kenya for more than 60 years.

The Makonde live in Gasi, Mwangwey and Ramisi in Kwale County and also in Vipingo, Kilifi County. Most of them trace their roots to a group of Mozambicans that came to Kenya during the Second World War to work as labourers in farms in Kilifi, Kwale and Taita Taveta. They are mostly poor and illiterate and have lived in legal limbo because they are not normally issued with Kenyan identity papers despite their long stay in Kenya and marriage to Kenyans. Although Kenya has declared them stateless, it has never expelled them and in recent years Mozambique has tried to entice them to return home.

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Themes: Ethnic/Racial/Religious, Statelessness
Regions: Kenya
Year: 2014