Makonde People Set to Become the 43rd Tribe in Kenya
President Uhuru Kenyatta on Thursday 13th October 2016 issued a directive that will see the Makonde people get national Identity Cards by December. The Makonde community is originally from Mozambique, they settled in Kenya’s Kwale County in the 1950s. Efforts made by the Makonde to get IDs started back in 2004 as stated by the chairman of Makonde Community Tomas Nguli, in an article published in the Standard. They were given waiting cards but never received the IDs. There have been various setbacks since then including lack of political good will as well the fact that some of the Makonde people got registered by the Mozambican government, even taking part in the country’s election some two years ago.
The Makonde people have contributed greatly to Kenya’s national development thus the need to be recognized as citizens, even intermarrying with the locals. They came to Kenya after being recruited by the European where they worked in the sisal and sugar plantations in Kilifi, Kwale and Taita counties. The lack of IDs for this community has denied them the opportunity to acquire land, get quality education, getting birth and marriage certificates as well as getting jobs.
The president issued the directive when he hosted a 300 member delegation that had walked all the way from Kwale County to Nairobi, to present their complaints to the president. The president sent out his apology to the Makonde for taking too long to consider them as Kenyans. The complaint by the Makonde was heard by the county Legal and Justice Assembly Committee, who wrote a petition to the President Uhuru through the Senate in September 2014.
The government estimates that the Makonde people are approximately 4,000 however local Makonde leaders claim the number could be higher estimating it at more than 10,000. The 2010 Kenyan constitution under the Citizenship and Immigration Act No. 12 of 2011, it provides for registration of stateless people living in the country. This will see the Makonde people become the 43rd tribe in the country.
Once the Makonde people get ID cards they will be able to acquire decent jobs, get title deeds, access loans, participate in development, this could also see them take part in the 2017 general election.