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Makonde in Kwale cry for IDs to register as voters

By Tobias Chanji | January 17th 2017
A man registers as a voter at the Ukunda bus park, yesterday. There was low turn out as the mass voter registration got underway. [PHOTO: GIDEON MAUNDU/STANDARD]

The Makonde, who had been stateless for over half a century, have complained that processing of their identity cards has taken too long.

They now fear that they might not register as voters so that they take part in the August polls.

On November 25 last year, Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery launched a process of identifying the Makonde as Kenyans and promised to issue them with identity cards before Christmas last year.

The Government launched the registration of the community, whose ancestral home is Mozambique, following a study that estimated their numbers to be about 3,000.

By mid December, just under 1,800 had been captured in  Government data bases.

Although most eligible adults acquired waiting cards, they are yet to get IDs even as voter registration began yesterday.

Those living in Makongeni village, the largest of their camps, are a dejected people and assurances from acting county commissioner Mwangi Kahiro did little to lift up their spirits.


“We registered but we are yet to get IDs. The Government keeps on telling us that we will get them but we are yet to,” said Lupina Asumani.

Mr Mwangi said: “Before the end of the week they will probably have received their IDs to register as voters.”

Ms Asumani said the registration was meant to identify them as Kenyans after trekking from Kwale to Nairobi last year, adding that they will only feel they belong when they are registered as voters.

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

Beatrice Daniel, 22, hopes they will get the IDs on time so that they can exercise their constitutional right come August 8.

Clutching her waiting card, Zuena Daniel said they were not sure if they are still stateless or Kenyans.

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

Speaking to The Standard on phone, Mwangi said 1,000 IDs were ready and called for patience as the remaining 73 were being processed.

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