Africa’s invisible millions survive without ID documents

Published: 22/Mar/2018
Source: Equal Times

By Maina Waruru

Few people in the Kiambaa area of Kikuyu constituency on the outskirts of Kenya’s capital can dispute Mushewa Ndolo’s talent as a carpenter.

His hard work, and not to mention his handiwork, has endeared him to dozens of loyal clients for whom he has tailor-made furniture.

But the father-of-four, who plies his trade from an abandoned, dilapidated structure at Kiambaa shopping centre alongside other men from his community, is struggling to grow his business. He cannot apply for tenders or other “big jobs” because he doesn’t have a bank account. Nor can he own property or even buy a vehicle – all because he doesn’t own any official ID.

Mushewa is one of nearly 4000 members of the Shona community in Kenya, a stateless group whose forebearers migrated to Kenya from Zimbabwe as missionaries more than 50 years ago, but who are not recognised by the state as Kenyans, and as such, have never been issued with any Kenyan identification papers.

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Themes: Apatridie, Cartes d’identité et passeports
Regions: Pan Afrique, Kenya
Year: 2018