Over 2,000 Makonde in Kwale registered as process enters phase two

Friday November 25 2016

A registration official takes fingerprints from

A registration official takes fingerprints from Makonde community chairman Thomas Nguli (left) when the process started in October 2016. So far, at least 2,000 people have been registered in Kwale but the government is yet to release official figures. FILE PHOTO | WACHIRA MWANGI | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By FAROUK MWABEGE
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The Directorate of Immigration and Registration of Persons has so far registered at least 2,000 members of the Makonde community since the process started a month ago.

The registration is in its second phase.

In the first phase, 12 days had been set aside for Kwale County and surpassed the initial projection of registering 1,300 people.

Coast Region Chief Registrar of Persons Aggrey Masai told the Nation Friday that the registration is going on so well and the turnout has been good from the beginning.

However, he declined to give the exact number of the people who have so far been registered.

“I cannot give you that information until I brief my director and that will only happen after we complete the exercise in Lunga Lunga Sub-County on Saturday,” he said.

But, Hemed Mwafujo, a paralegal officer for Haki Centre, a human rights organisation, said in Kwale alone, they have so far issued 1,200 IDs and 800 birth certificates.

He added that a similar exercise is also taking place in Kilifi County with the first phase set to last for three days.

NOT OFFICIAL ESTIMATE

“I have been taking part in the exercise from the beginning but what I have given you is not the official estimate. You can get the official figure from the relevant department,” he said.

At the same time, Mr Mwafujo asked members of the community to take advantage of the registration which is like a waiver given to them by the government until the end of December.

He noted that if the community members were to follow up the process of registration on their own, it would have cost each person Sh200,000 to change their nationality.

“These people should come out in large numbers before the exercise come to an end because the government has really helped by bringing all departments on board,” he said.

Thomas Nguli, who has been leading the struggle for the recognition of the Makonde as Kenyan citizens expressed his satisfaction in the manner in which the registration is being conducted.

Mr Nguli said apart from minor challenges caused by people who failed to give satisfactory information to the vetting committee, everything else is going on well.

The exercise is expected end on Saturday in Lunga Lunga, after registration officials visit Vanga, Nyumba Mbovu, Kanana and Mwangwei villages in Kwale County.

In Kilifi County, the exercise came to an end on Thursday in Gede, after officials visited Majengo Kanamai and Mtondia where some members of the community are living.