Makonde community fear being locked out of voter registration process

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Kwale, KENYA: As the second phase of voter registration exercise officially begun on Monday, the Makonde community of Msambweni Kwale have expressed their fear of missing out on the process.

This comes even after president Uhuru Kenyatta ordered for the registration of the community members to get national identity cards as the 43rd tribe of Kenya before 25th December 2016.

Late October last year, Interior CS  Joseph Nkaissery initiated a process of identifying the community as Kenyans and promised to issue them with IDs before Christmas.

Almost a month after the president’s directive hit it’s deadline, the members are yet to get the IDs although they received their waiting cards.

Mrs. Lupina Asumani a woman in the late 60s said that the government keeps on telling them that they will get their IDs though they have not yet.

She either feels that they are dejected because other people are registering as voters.

“We are Kenyans and we really want to vote. I will feel very happy if I get those cards,” she added.

22-year-old Beatrice Fundi  said that she is very eager to participate in the August elections and hopes that they will get the IDs on time.

Zuena Fundi noted that they are not sure if they are still stateless or have already acquired Kenyan Citizenship.

“It is surprising and we are asking ourselves if we are still stateless or we have gained citizenship. We however still have hopes in all these uncertainties,” she said.

A distance away from the village at Makongeni Primary voter registration center, the turn up was low despite the BVR kits were working well.

The government has however assured the community that their IDs are ready for distribution to enable them take part in the ongoing mass voter registration.

Kwale deputy county commissioner Mwangi Kahiro said that 1,000 identification cards for those who registered in 2016 are ready in Mombasa.

“We have only some 73 IDs which are yet to be processed. We are waiting for all of them so that they can be distributed together,” said Kahiro .

He said that there is no cause for alarm over delays in the issuance of the IDs to the Makondes, and that the government will ensure they obtain the documents.

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