State­less peo­ple give up kids so they can get IDs, school­ing

More than 1,000 rep­re­sen­ta­tives are trekking from Kwale to State House, Nairobi, to seek au­di­ence with Pres­i­dent. Dead­line to reg­is­ter them lapsed in August

The Star (Kenya) - - Counties - AL­LOYS MUSYOKA @k2­musyoka

State­less peo­ple in Kwale have said they are forced to give away their chil­dren to lo­cal res­i­dents so they can ac­quire birth cer­tifi­cates and get an ed­u­ca­tion.

The state­less peo­ple in­clude the Makonde, who mi­grated from Mozam­bique be­fore In­de­pen­dence, Wapemba from Tan­za­nia, Rwan­dese and Bu­run­di­ans.

“We are forced to tell our neigh­bours to take our chil­dren and help them get birth cer­tifi­cates and IDs be­cause they can­not get the doc­u­ments through us,”Amina Kas­sim said on Mon­day.

She said this is one of the rea­sons they are walk­ing to Nairobi. Some 1,000 rep­re­sen­ta­tives, in­clud­ing chil­dren and elders, left Kwale on Mon­day for State House, Nairobi, to seek au­di­ence with Pres­i­dent Uhuru Keny­atta.

They are ac­com­pa­nied by Kenya Hu­man Right Com­mis­sion of­fi­cials and civil so­ci­ety groups on the walk. Kas­sim said if the in­dige­nous peo­ple with whom they have en­trusted their chil­dren refuse to give them back, they can­not claim them, as they do not have ci­ti­zen­ship. She is among those on their way to Nairobi.

Kas­sim said they are op­ti­mistic Uhuru will help them get ci­ti­zen­ship. “We get jobs but we can’t go for them and in­stead give them to friends who have IDs,” she said.

Chair­man Thomas Nguli said, “We have de­cided to see the Pres­i­dent and tell him of our agony. If we can­not be given ci­ti­zen­ship, then it is bet­ter for the gov­ern­ment to get rid of us.”

Kwale deputy county com­mis­sioner Mwangi Kahiro said the pe­riod of reg­is­ter­ing state­less peo­ple, whose dead­line lapsed in August, has been ex­tended by three years.

But KHRC chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Ge­orge Ke­goro said the walk is the only way to en­sure the peo­ple get gov­ern­ment recog­ni­tion.

/AL­LOYS MUSYOKA

The 1,000 state­less peo­ple walk from Kwale to State House, Nairobi, on Mon­day. They want to meet Pres­i­dent Uhuru Keny­atta to seek his help in get­ting Kenyan ci­ti­zen­ship

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