President William Ruto has recognized the coastal Pemba community that was initially stateless as Kenyans.
In a gazette notice issued on Monday, January 30, Ruto noted that failure to recognize the Pemba Community as citizens of Kenya continues to cause disenfranchisement and exclusion of the community from national development.
The Head of State further referred to a 2021 recommendation by the National Assembly which stated that, “the Pemba people from the Coast of Kenya be recognized as an ethnic group in Kenya and be issued with the relevant identification documents in accordance with the Constitution and the law.”
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After considering the report by Parliament, Ruto quoted Articles 11 and 44 of the Constitution of Kenya adding that it is the duty of the Government to promote and protect the diverse cultural heritage of Kenya.
“I William Samoei Ruto, President and Commander-in-Chief of the Kenya Defense Forces, having considered the said petition and the consequent Parliamentary Report in light of the Constitution of Kenya, our National Values, and the Principles of Governance; by the authority vested in me by the Constitution do recognize, proclaim and order:
“That Kenyans of Pemba heritage constitute a community that is one of the ethnic communities of Kenya and that all persons, Bodies, and Authorities within the republic of Kenya shall recognize the Pemba Community as an ethnic community of Kenya,” Ruto proclaimed in the gazette notice.
On December 12 during celebrations to mark Kenya’s 59th Jamhuri celebrations, Ruto’s announced that the Government will initiate modalities to recognize the Pemba community as Kenyans and a month later, the President fulfilled his pledge.
“Once again, Kenya has demonstrated leadership in the aim to end statelessness around the world. This decision will ensure that the Pemba people will get access to the rights they deserve. UNHCR stands ready to support the process,” Caroline van Buren, the UNHCR’s Representative to Kenya said.
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