Kenya: Decades later Shona speak Kikuyu but still lack IDs

Published: 15/Jul/2019
Source: The Star (Nairobi)

By George Mugo

In Summary:

  • Shunned in Kenya and Zimbabwe, the Shona are unable to do business legally or own property.
  • They were allowed to register with Huduma Namba as stateless people, but are yet to be given IDs.

Over 60 years ago, a community arrived in Nairobi from Zimbabwe and started preaching the gospel of God. Little did they know their mission would leave them stuck in the country and stateless.

Life changed all of a sudden for the less than 100 missionaries from the Shona community, who had arrived in the country two years before Kenya gained Independence (1961).

Things came to a head when Kenya’s British colonialists left. The Great Britain passports the Shona had used to come to the country could not be used again after Independence.

The Kenyan government could not clear the Shona to go back since it could not recognise how they entered. This left them trying to seeking citizenship instead.

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Themes: ID Documents and Passports, Statelessness
Regions: Kenya
Year: 2019