Nubian community appeals for their right to existence

Counties Editor's Pick Nairobi Social

The Nubian community in Kenya has requested the government to officially recognise them as part of the numerous Kenyan communities.

The community has appealed for genuine citizenship through the allocation of Identification Cards (ID) on time by the government.

Speaking at his office in Kibra, Nairobi, Nubian Rights Forum Executive Director Shafi Ali Husein disclosed that Nubians all over the country always get a hard time to apply and receive their IDs since they are still considered as non-citizens.

Hussein also said that a Nubian youth has to go through a vetting session for verification in order to own an identity card in the country.

The vetting, he added, takes around 5 to 6 months subjecting the youths to dangers of being in the country without any identification.

“Having attained the age of 18 years and living in Kenya without an ID is like you are not existing. You cannot access any government help and you are viewed as an outcast among other citizens. This is subjecting our youths to great dangers,” Hussein lamented.

The Director revealed that there is no single Nubian serving on the vetting panel and that there are over 300 Nubian youths living in the country, specifically in Kibra, without ID cards and are waiting to be vetted.

Hussein pointed out that due to the lack of IDs, the Nubian youths cannot access education in higher learning institutions and added if by any luck they are admitted, they cannot get the government’s financial sponsorship through the Higher Education Loans Board (HELB) hence subjecting their parents to dire financial crisis.

“During the grand coalition government, we were promised inclusivity in the Kenyan tribes to be the 43rd tribe but until today, this has never been gazetted. We want to know if we are part of the Kenyan citizens or if we are refugees in Kenya,” he stressed.

The chairman further gave an example of a Nubian boy from Isiolo who had applied for an ID and has been waiting for a year in vain. He recalled that the boy was eventually pushed back to the vetting session.

On the other hand, the youths who addressed the media explained their pain of being left out of government projects due to lack of IDs.

Twenty-two-year-old Senussi Hassan Issa, for example, said that he has been waiting for his ID for 6 months after applying.

He said that being a boda boda operator in Kibra, he faces the challenge of being arrested frequently by the police and ending up behind bars because he cannot identify himself as a Kenyan citizen due to lack of an ID.

“We would like to be recognized just like other Kenyans and enjoy the freedom of accessing government services just like other Kenyans,” said Issa.

By Stanslaus Mbithi

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