Kenyan Asians urged to integrate with other citizens

Activist Farah Manzoor. [Esther Jeruto, Standard]

People of Asian descent have been urged to integrate with other Kenyans to encourage their recognition.

The community, which was recognised as the 44th ethnic group in 2017, more often than not work a unit.

Members of the community live and have established businesses in select areas such as Pangani and Parklands.

Farah Manzoor, Pioneer of the 44th tribe heritage in Kenya said many Kenyans think that they have not integrated socially.

“So they treat us differently. During my journey of seven years fighting for this course I have seen many of our women married by Kenyans they met in Kakamega and Bungoma,” said Manzoor.

The concerns emerged at Nairobi National Museum during a ceremony to place a calabash for the Asian community at the Hall of Kenya.

Manzoor said social integration started long time ago. “It’s not that we have kept away it’s because of the fear of what happened in Africa,” said Manzoor.

Prof Maria Nzomo of University of Nairobi said socio-cultural integration is the only way to come up with shared values.

“Social integration, is how we come up with shared values, I think you should now be less worried, do not worry too much about whether you are recognised as a Kenyan citizen. The Constitution is clear, it protects you,” Prof Nzomo said.

A gourd representing all tribes in Kenya. [Esther Jeruto, standard]

According to the 2019 census, Kenyan Asians have a population of about 47,000. This sparse population is caused primarily by migration of Kenyan Asians to other parts of the world.

“We are a small number no doubt...the numbers have decreased because of problems in Africa,” said Manzoor.

She said the Uganda Exodus and the 1982 coup in Kenya influenced the migrations.

She said the community’s small population has seen it treated differently despite being in Kenya since before independence.

As Kenyan citizens, members of the community have been urged to take part in politics “as it is their right”.

A few Kenyan Asians have joined politics with some being elected.

“We have Kenyans of Asian heritage who are running for elective posts,” said Manzoor.

To further stamp its existence the community has been urged to invite more people to work with them.