NAIROBI, 28 July 2021 – Some 1,670 members of the Shona community who moved from Zimbabwe to Kenya prior to 1963 have been granted Kenyan nationality..
The move provides a country the Shona can call their own after generations of previous Shona have to self-identify as stateless.
Kenyan authorities provided the Shona with national identity cards, guaranteeing access to basic services including education, healthcare and, for the first time, the possibility to open a bank account and have access to other public services.
The Shona first arrived Kenya in the 1960s as missionaries from present-day Zimbabwe, at the time known as Rhodesia and in the throes of an independence war.
Shona had the opportunity in the two years following Kenya’s independence in 1963 to register as citizens.
Those who missed the opportunity or who failed to register lost the chance to do so and have had to live as stateless people since then.
Human rights groups have applauded the decision as “the sane and humane thing to do”, urging Kenyan authorities to extend the same privilege to people from other minority groups who have lived decades in the country they call home but do not have citizenship of.