In a momentous and historic development, Kenya has granted citizenship to the Pemba community, putting an end to their decades of statelessness.
At a ceremony held in Kilifi, President William Ruto personally presented ID cards, birth certificates, and passports to over 7,000 members of the Pemba community.
This act of recognition opens up a world of opportunities for the Pemba people, as they now gain access to essential public services that were previously unavailable to them. These include the right to attend schools, access healthcare services, enjoy social security benefits, and have the right to work.
The roots of the Pemba community in Kenya can be traced back to about a century ago when they initially settled in the country. Unfortunately, their presence was not formally acknowledged during Kenya’s independence in 1963, leaving them in a state of statelessness for an extended period.
Believed to have originated from the island of Pemba in the Zanzibar Archipelago, which is located off the mainland of Tanzania, the community currently resides along Kenya’s coast. Over the years, they have faced numerous challenges due to their unacknowledged status, making this recognition a significant milestone for their community.
In recent years, the country has taken important strides by granting citizenship to thousands of individuals from previously unrecognized groups like the Makonde and Shona.