Two years after they were granted Kenyan citizenship, the Makonde community has opposed a move to register them as voters in this year’s elections in Mozambique, their country of origin.
Led by Makonde Community in Kenya chairman Thomas Nguli, they accused the Mozambican embassy in Nairobi of being behind the voter listing in Kwale, where most of them live.
Speaking in Kwale town and Makongeni village at the weekend, the community, which became Kenya’s 43rd tribe after the government issued them with the national identity cards, said they oppose the registration as they risk losing their citizenship.
“I am warning my colleagues to be wary of being duped to register as voters as we risk being stripped off the citizenship that we fought hard to get, ending many years of Statelessness,” Nguli said.
He added that their recognition as Kenyans was granted on condition they adhere to citizenship requirements. The community leader, however, acknowledged that the issue had split the community into two factions but maintained only a few are for the voter listing.
Nguli said efforts to register them started last week with promises that those willing to do so would be issued with passports to facilitate repatriation to the Southern African country.
In 2014, a meeting convened by the Mozambican embassy at Kwale’s Jomo Kenyatta Primary School turned chaotic after the community differed over voter listing. Most of the Makonde came to Kenya to work as farm hands in sisal and sugar plantations.