Source: Kenya Human Rights Commission
The severity of living without a national identification document is inconceivable to most Kenyans. Without a national identity card, individuals are practically invisible to the state. As such, it is difficult for them to secure the rights other citizens enjoy; access to basic services like education or healthcare, acquiring formal employment, owning property, or challenge discrimination. Yet for thousands of people in Kenya, this is their reality.
While most Kenyans register and receive essential and mandatory identification documents upon attaining 18 years, a good number transition into adulthood without I.Ds. This is not because they lack citizenship rights or do not ask for national identification cards but due to gaps in registration, identification, and citizenship procedures that make it difficult for them to acquire legal identification documents.
One group caught up in this dire situation is members of the Shona Community. Nearly 70 years ago, the Shona arrived in Kenya as missionaries and have lived in the country since. Yet, they are not registered as citizens despite provisions on the citizenship chapter that technically confer them citizenship having legally resided in the country for more than 7 years.