It is a new dawn for the Pemba community after the government kicked off citizenship registration for its members to receive national identification cards in Kilifi.
The launch of the registration exercise led by Principal Secretary (PS) for Immigration and Citizen Services, Julius Bitok, was greatly celebrated by the community members who termed it as a liberation of the tribe from marginalization.
PS Bitok said the community has for a long time been discriminated against opportunities and critical services such as jobs, education, and medical services, but their woes have finally come to an end.
He added that the process was a struggle, but the government was determined to give the Pemba community members their right to citizenship in the Republic of Kenya.
“I want to say that today we are starting the registration, enrolling all the Pemba people. I want to direct my team that from today, to make sure that every member of the ethnic group is registered and given the citizenship of the Republic of Kenya”, he said
“Today is the day when discrimination ends for Pemba people. Discrimination on jobs will end and you heard from the Governor. Discrimination from health services will end, discrimination from education is over, and discrimination from fishing is over” he added.
The PS urged all community members of all ages to come out in large numbers and receive their Kenyan citizenship through the due process of registration.
Kilifi Governor, Gideon Mung’aro, highlighted the plight of the community members, saying they have been at loggerheads with the authorities and sometimes losing their property.
He assured the Pemba community that their plight is over and they will be included in the ongoing projects in the County government, including boosting their fishing economic activities.
“I want to assure you that before the President comes in the fourth month, on that day he will officially welcome you, we will have Pemba representative in this government”, he said.
He added that as the County government, they will handle all the problems the community has been going through in their residential areas.
The majority of the Pemba members have been masquerading in other communities in the coast region to get national identification and access critical government services, but they got the freedom to be registered in their mother community as citizens in the country.