Mombasa, KENYA: Over 2,000 members of the Pemba community living in coastal Kenya, have written a letter to Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaisserry seeking to be granted Kenyan citizenship.
In the letter seen by Baraka FM on Tuesday, the community stated that they have been constantly harassed by law enforcers for allegedly being in the country unlawfully.
They also said that they could not get birth certificates for their children and it has become hard for them to be registered for national examinations, increasing illiteracy levels among them coupled with unemployment, as they cannot access jobs either in private or public sector.
Brief history of Pemba community
In the early 1990’s when the ten mile of coastal strip was still under the administrative jurisdiction of sultan of Zanzibar, the Pemba who are fishermen moved freely within the ten miles of the coastal region of Kenya.
Immediately when Kenya attained her independence, the head of state his excellency Mzee Jomo Kenyatta entered into an agreement with the United Kingdom, his highness the sultan of Zanzibar ,Seyyid Jamshid bin Abdulla and the prime minister of the Zanzibar Hon Mohammed Shamte on October 8,1963.
In the said agreement, the territory which then was governed by the Sultan and administered as the Kenya protectorate rather than a colony of Zanzibar, thereby lawfully and officially became part of Kenya.
In a letter written to CS Nkaisserry by their lawyer Pascal Nabwana on 9th June 2017 and received on 12th June 2017, the Pemba community have requested the government to issue them with identification cards and registration of all members of Kenya-Pemba as the Kenya citizens.
They have also threatened to commence legal proceedings for the determination of the rights of the Kenya Pemba community, if the government will not response to their demand within fourteen days.
In February, President Uhuru Kenyatta issued Makonde community with Identification Cards, officially making them the 43rd ethnic group in Kenya.