Kwale, KENYA: The fate of stateless people in Kwale County remains unknown as the deadline of having them being registered as Kenyan citizens passed on Tuesday, according to the Citizenship and immigration act 2011.
The stateless people include the Makonde community from Mozambique, Pemba community from Tanzania and others from Rwanda and Burundi who came to the country during colonial period.
They have not been registered even after a task force was appointed by President Uhuru just after Kwale county assembly passed a motion of approving registration of the stateless community.
The vetting process was initiated in February last year but up to date the community is crying foul; saying they have been hoodwinked for years and cannot access services that require one to have an identification card.
The communities and Human rights lobby groups are now calling on government to intervene and put ways forward on how the stateless people will be registered.
“We are calling on the Cabinet Secretary in charge of national coordination to publish a notice on Kenya gazette extending the deadline of registering stateless people” said Diana Gichengo Kenya Human Right Commission manager in Kwale.
She said that no single stateless person has so far been registered despite the willingness and promises by the government to register them.
“By law today is the deadline and it is disheartening that stateless persons cannot go to defend themselves in court,“ she noted.
She said they would want the president to intervene and show direction over the matter.
The communities say their hopes have dwindled and now they are left with more questions than answers since the journey of recognizing them started years ago.
“We are facing a lot of challenges and we don’t know what the government intends to with us,” said the Makonde Community chairman Thomas Nguli.
He said they have no more hope since they have asked for their details three times and nothing came fourth.
“I came here even before Mzee Jomo Kenyatta became president and am still referred to as a foreigner, it is not fair,” said 78 year old Mazera Punda.