Nubians demand IDs, recognition as one of Kenya's ethnic groups - Beaking Kenya News

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Saturday, 3 October 2020

Nubians demand IDs, recognition as one of Kenya's ethnic groups


Nubians have questioned the government's delay to issue them with national identity cards.

The Nubian Rights Forum says it will soon writing a letter to President Uhuru Kenyatta over the issue.

Speaking on Friday during a press briefing at their offices in Kibera, Nairobi, the forum's chairman Shafi Hussein said that since Independence, the quest to have Nubians recognised by the state has been unsuccessful.

“The fight to have Nubians own IDs and get recognised has been long and tiring, yet the government has continued to delay the matter,” Hussein said.

The Nubians are originally from Northern Sudan and Southern Egypt, where they settled along the banks of the Nile River.

Nairobi's original Nubian population was recruited from Sudan by the British army and are scattered throughout East Africa. According to 2019 census, there are 21,000 Nubians in Kenya.

Hussein said the government has only given them false hopes by issuing waiting cards which have stayed close to a year without any signs of getting the actual IDs.

“Many youths and elderly people have been issued with waiting cards that are almost turning a year old since issuance.”

Hussein expressed concern that the second phase of the Huduma Namba registration is about to begin, yet there are no signs that they will be listed without IDs. They want to be recognised as one of Kenya's ethnic groups.

Hussein said they had held talks with Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i on the same, but no action has been taken and neither has the government provided any explanation for the inaction.

“There has been no good explanation as to why the government would deny us citizenship and expose us to statelessness while we are in our own country,” Hussein said.

He accused the government of being irresponsible and urged that the matter be dispensed with as soon as possible to enable them to enjoy the privileges and rights that come with citizenship. Otherwise they will seek intervention from the United Nations, Hussein sai.

“We will not address this matter again. If the President fails to honour our requests, we will have no option but to write to the UN asking for intervention.”

He said it has become a challenge for university students from the Nubian community, because they cannot access Helb loans without IDs.

Hussein said the elderly too, including him, cannot benefit from the government's cash transfer programme meant for senior citizens because they have no IDs. This has left them vulnerable and desperate, especially during this Covid- 19 crisis, he added.

Ahmed Khalil, 72, said their struggle has been long, and the government seems to have forgotten the community. He appealed to the government to expedite their registration as citizens to promote harmonious relations with other communities.

“The struggle to have the Nubians recognised by the government has been long. I am now old and I am afraid my generation will continue the quest,” Khalil said.

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