Stateless Makonde people to get Kenyan citizenship

Thursday October 13 2016

Activists protesting along Nairobi streets on

Activists protesting along Nairobi streets on October 13, 2016 against failure by the government to recognise the Makonde community and failing to give them identification cards. EVANS HABIL | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By CHARLES OMONDI and PSCU

Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta Thursday directed that all eligible Makonde people to be issued with national identity cards by December.

The president further ordered responsible government departments to ensure the eligible members of the community were issued with land title deeds.

The Makonde live in Kwale County at the coast, but originally came from northern Mozambique in the 1940s.

They have for decades been denied the Kenyan citizenship.

President Kenyatta spoke when he hosted a delegation of 300 members of the community at State House, Nairobi.

“I seek your apology on behalf of other Kenyans because Kenya has taken too long to consider you as our brothers and sisters,” he said.

He assured the community that Thursday would be the last day that anyone would say the Makonde were not part of the Kenyan nation.

Earlier in the day, President Kenyatta chaired a Cabinet meeting, which among other issues, adopted a directive to start giving citizenship to the Makonde.

The Makonde people are estimated to be about 10,000 living in Kenya.