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VIDEO: Hope for Stateless Shona Community in Kenya as they are set to be given Birth Certificates

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Imagine living all your adult life as a stateless person. This is the case with at least 4,000 members of the Shona community who live in Kenya. Originally from Zimbabwe, Botswana, Malawi, Zambia and South Africa, they came to Kenya in the 1960s to spread the Gospel and although recognized by Kenya’s founding fathers, they were never granted citizenship. This situation has continued todate denying them basic rights including education and employment.

88 year old Mofat Ngwabi, sits comfortably in his chair in his home in Kinoo in the ouskirts of Nairobi, Kenya. Mofat is one of the few still alive who remembers when the Shona people of Zimbabwe arrived in Kenya in the 1960s.

He was part of a group of around 100 missionaries, who came to establish the Gospel of God Church. When they arrived they were met and welcomed by the first post-independence President of Kenya, Jomo Kenyatta. Mofat looks on proudly at a photo of the encounter with the President that hangs on the wall in the church office.

Despite the meeting, and receiving the blessing of the President to establish a church, the Shona could not be registered because under the first post-independence constitution, there was no provision for people not of Kenyan descent to be registered as citizens.

“We can’t enjoy services that nationals enjoy.”

It has rendered them stateless today, meaning without Kenyan citizenship or nationality.

As a result, Mofat, his seven children, nine grandchildren, and two great grandchildren who were all born in Kenya, have never had the right to become citizens. Though they speak the national language, Swahili, and local Kikuyu dialect spoken where they live. Though they are deeply ingrained in Kenya culture, from food to music. Though none of them has ever left Kenya to travel abroad, the fact that they are not recognized as Kenyans has left the family feeling a deep sense of despair.

Kenya. The stateless Shona community still waiting for citizenship88 year old Mofat Ngwabi, stands with his wife, Mangwenya, and the rest of his family near their home on the outskirts of Nairobi, Kenya. UNHCR/T.Jones

It’s a problem affecting over 4000 Shona people in Kenya who descended from the church.

Mike Moyo, a Carpenter in nearby Kiambu County just outside the capital, is in the same situation as Mofat. All of Mike’s 10 children and 7 grandchildren were born in Kenya but are stateless.

“We are like dead men walking.”

“All my 10 children do not have birth certificates, and the older ones do not have identity cards. It’s awful,” says Mike.

Ramik, Mike’s eldest son says the effects have been dreadful.

“We can’t enjoy services that nationals enjoy. We don’t have mobile banking and going to the hospital is also a challenge. Birth certificate are needed for class 8 registration for our children who are in primary school so sometimes we are forced to ‘buy’ parents so that our children can continue with education. We cannot even save money.”

And so the vicious cycle of statelessness continues to the next generation in the Moyo family.

Carpenter-132 year old Ramik Mofat Moyo is Mike Moyo’s son. He is also a carpenter. Ramik just like his children, was born and raised in Kenya. They are all stateless. UNHCR/T.Jones

“All my 10 children do not have birth certificates, and the older ones do not have identity cards. It’s awful.” 61 year old Mike Moyo is a carpenter, a skill he inherited from his Shona forefathers from Zimbabwe. UNHCR/T.Jones

Some Shona people have married Kenyans which has helped their children acquire documents such as birth certificates. But the Shona say marrying nationals is not the solution. They say they deserve to be recognized as Kenyans.

The situation has meant that thousands of Shona people can’t be employed formally, and so survive doing informal work.

Many Shona women  weave baskets and do bead work to put food on the table they say. A lack of documents has forced them to sell their products for far less than they are worth through middle men.

Ben Kapota, a stateless father of eight who also lives in Kiambu says;

“I have been arrested several times because of moving around without an identity card. My community members had to bail me out. We are like dead men walking. If anything happens to us far from home, people will not be able to identify you just because you do not have an identity card.”

“I have been arrested several times because of moving around without an identity card.”

“If I got an ID card today, the first thing I will do is to get a driver’s license, then get a passport and start doing business.” Says Ben.

Kenya. The stateless Shona community still waiting for citizenshipStateless, Ben Kapota, sits with his daughter Blessing at a carpentry workshop run by the Shona community in the town of Kiambaa on the outskirts of Nairobi, Kenya. UNHCR/T.Jones

Kenya. The stateless Shona community still waiting for citizenshipShona women weave baskets on the floor of their home in the town of Githurai on the outskirts of Nairobi, Kenya. It’s their only source of income. UNHCR’s #IBelong campaign is committed to ending statelessness for an estimated 10 million people worldwide. UNHCR/T.Jones

Despite the situation, many Shona are however hopeful that the Kenyan government will give them citizenship soon.

Shona community leaders and UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency in Kenya, have met with the government to try and find a solution for Shona people.

The Makonde community, originally from Mozambique were recently recognized by the government as Kenyans and given nationality, as the 43rd tribe of Kenya. This act has revived hopes that there will be a speedy solution for the Shona.

Read our statelessness report, “This is our home”: Stateless minorities and their search for citizenship” here. The report was released to mark the third year of the #IBelong campaign to end statelessness.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Elizabeth Oyaya

    August 1, 2019 at 11:13 pm

    This people are our fellow Kenyans and they should be recognized as such and given citizenship without further delay. It’s a shame we have treated our African brothers and sisters of Shona community with disdain, denying them for so long their basic rights,and failing to create a path for them to enable them obtain citizenship.

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Africa

Kabuga will pay for my son’s death, woman says

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“Kabuga will pay for the death of my son. He must pay.”

These are the words of a mother who has been grieving for 17 years.

For Ms Lydia Wangui and the family of William Mwaura Munuhe, there is now a ray of hope following the arrest of Rwandan fugitive Felicien Kabuga.

Mr Munuhe, a freelance journalist and close associate of Kabuga, was one of the closest links the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) had in its quest to capture one of the world’s most wanted fugitives back in 2003.

COLD BLOODED MURDER

But days before he could help FBI agents lure Kabuga into a trap, Mr Munuhe was murdered in cold blood in his house in Nairobi.

That would mark the beginning of a 17-year pursuit for truth and justice.

With the arrest of the man believed to be behind their kin’s death, the family now can afford a sigh of relief. But justice is far from being found.

The Nation tracked down the family at their home in Muruguru, Nyeri County.

Ms Wangui is just coming to terms with news of Kabuga’s arrest in France two days ago. For her, it is a mixture of both joy and a painful reminder of her son’s death.

PAIN STILL FRESH

“I could not believe it when I heard that he has been arrested. But the pain is still fresh in my heart. I suffered for a very long time and I continue to feel the pain of having to bury my child. Now it is his turn to suffer,” she said.

For 17 years, this family has pursued justice over their son’s brutal murder, knocking on every door that had power to help and when all offices locally became unresponsive, they sought help overseas.

The family has already sought help from the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague but even that has not helped serve them justice.

It has been a long journey filled with anguish, lies and betrayal.

DANGEROUS

So dangerous was the pursuit for the truth and justice that even Mr Munuhe’s father, a former police officer who died in 2013, could not dare ask questions to his colleagues and superiors regarding his son’s death.

On February 16, 2003, detectives from the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) visited their home in Nyeri with the news of their son’s death. They said that the journalist had died of carbon monoxide poisoning. This was the first lie that was given to the family.

“When we went to his house in Karen, they did not even want us to get in. But I demanded to see for myself where he had died. They had already taken the body away,” Ms Wangui said.

She recounted seeing bloody footprints across the living room of the house and her son’s belongings scattered on the floor. Initially, police told her that his body was found on a mattress soaked with sweat.

BLOODY SCENE

Scenes from Mr Munuhe’s guest room told a different story and it turned out that the said sweat was actually blood.

“There was a lot of blood on the floor and the bed was broken. All I could think of is how my son suffered a painful death,” she said.

Mr Munuhe’s brother, Josephat Mureithi, was among those who positively identified the body at the City Mortuary. He said that his face had been badly disfigured, possibly from acid burns.

Mr Mureithi has been at the forefront in the fight for justice for his slain brother and feels that Kabuga’s arrest, though significant, is still far from giving the family complete closure.

He still lives in fear of Kabuga’s accomplices. Even with the outlaw in custody, he feels someone is still watching.

“Even journalists who tried asking us about our brother’s death received threats. There is a letter that we found while moving his belongings threatening that we would be killed one after the other. We have always lived in fear and still live in fear because his (Kabuga’a) accomplices are still at large,” Mr Mureithi said.

WRITTEN TO ICC

Mr Mureithi has written to the ICC and now wants his brother’s murder investigated by The Hague-based court and for Kabuga to stand trial.

“I wrote to the ICC and they said that his case would be placed in the archives until new evidence is found. Now is the time to look into the matter,” he said.

While Kabuga might not stand trial for the murder of Munuhe, his family believes the ICC will help deliver justice that has long evaded them.

Given the opportunity, Ms Wangui says she would want to point Kabuga to her son’s grave and remind him of the pain he caused her.

“He has caused so much pain to me and I want him to know that he will pay for it. And I know the many other people he caused pain have their own story to tell,” she said.

By Daily Nation

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Africa

Suspect in police officer kidnap case escapes

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A Ugandan accused of kidnapping and possibly killing a Kenyan police officer in January escaped from custody in mysterious circumstances.

Martin Wasike, 27, was discovered missing from Kamukunji police cells in Nairobi on Thursday morning, two days after a Nairobi court directed that he be detained at the station alongside his co-accused for three weeks.

Kamukunji OCS said the suspect disappeared between Wednesday 3.30pm and Thursday 3.30am.

“No grilles were cut and no one was injured. He may have tricked someone and left,” an officer told the Saturday Nation.

Central police commander Mark Wanjala said a search for the suspect in Mathare slums, where a female friend used to host him, was conducted but did not yielded fruit.

“The search is ongoing. We are also investigating the circumstances under which he escaped custody. His co-accused did not escape; they are in custody,” he said.

Mr Wasike, another Ugandan by the name Shariff Wanabwa and Phoebe Anido Andayi, from Busia County, are accused of kidnapping police constable Abel Misati on January 19 and being in possession of some of his stolen items, among them his mobile phone.

The phone was found on one of the trio in Eastleigh on April 17 by DCI detectives.

The investigating officer told the court on Wednesday there is a likelihood they will prefer more charges against the suspects.

The trio’s plea for bail was opposed by State prosecutor Winnie Moraa and the lawyer representing the officer’s family, Mr Alfred Nyandieka.

Ms Moraa argued they might jump bail since they have no permanent residence and identification documents.

“The severe sentences pronounced in the charges they face are an incentive for the three to escape the wrath of the law,” Ms Moraa told the court.

Mr Nyandieka said the disappearance of the officer had caused his family a lot of stress and trauma, and urged the court not to release the three so that they can assist police in locating the officer.

“The three are a threat to the security of the public if they can kidnap a well-trained police officer whose whereabouts are yet to be established,” Mr Alfred Nyandieka, the officer’s family lawyer, told the court.

Another Ugandan believed to have been the mastermind of the abduction is being tracked down by police with the help of Interpol. The suspect is believed to have fled to Uganda.

In his ruling, Senior Principal Magistrate Bernard Ochoi ordered that the three be detained until June 2, when the investigating officer will inform the court whether there will be changes to the circumstances of the case.

by Saturday Nation

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Woman dies at Catholic priest’s house after lying to hubby she had gone for funeral

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A married woman in Zambia is said to have died inside a Catholic priest’s house after she lied to her husband she was attending a funeral elsewhere.

TUKO.co.ke reports has learnt the woman is a member of the Catholic Women’s league from St Maurice Catholic Church in Lusaka.

The two are said to be lovers. Photo: Lusaka TimesA collage of the priest and the married woman. Photo source: Lusaka Times
Source: UGC

According to 9ja Live Times, Father Abel Mwelwa invited the woman who also happens to be his lover to the parish house on the night of Holy Thursday, May 7.

Lusaka Times reported that Archbishop Alick Banda suspended the clergyman as the judicial vicar of the Archdiocese of Lusaka moments after the occurrence became public.

An official memo from the church also stated Father Mwelwa had ceased being the parish priest of Kaunda Square parish.

“I hereby wish to inform you that I have with immediate effect suspended the Very Rev. Ringford Abel Mwelwa from the priesthood indefinitely. With this suspension he ceases to be Parish Priest for Kaunda Square Parish as well as Judicial Vicar of the Archbishop of Lusaka,” a part of the memo read.

Married woman found dead in Catholic priest’s home who is reportedly her loverThe priest is said to have injected something in the woman in a bid to terminate her pregnancy. Photo: UGC
Source: UGC

A source close to the media said that the clergyman was mandated to pay for the funeral expenses by the deceased’s family.

As at the time of writing this report, the autopsy result for her death was not yet ready as the woman’s family urged the police to investigate the real cause of her death.

An unconfirmed source, however, said that the priest reportedly injected some substance into the deceased in an attempt to abort her pregnancy.

By Tuko.co.ke

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