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Nubians rights forum accuses government of discrimination

The Nubian Rights Forum (NRF) has accused the government of discriminating against the community and deliberate failure to issue national identity cards to its youth.

NRF executive director Shafi Ali Hussein further claims some officers at the Kibra Sub-county offices are using government guidelines on no public gatherings as a pretext to stop serving Kenyans yet the offices are operational.

Hussein said the same has been witnessed at the Kibera registration of person offices in recent months where Nubian community members “are constantly sent back” without booking for vetting because the responsible parties (vetting committee members) are yet to resume work.

“On the other hand, Kenyans not subjected to vetting can freely proceed with the process. We fail to understand why such discriminatory acts should be allowed to continue at the expense of the livelihoods and rights of Nubian children,” Hussein told journalists at NRF offices.

“Intentionally locking out Nubians from getting identification cards without explanation while other Kenyans can get their documentation requests processed is a clear indicator about how the government treats minority communities in the country,”

But Kibra deputy county commissioner Gideon Ombongi denied discrimination claims and dismissed Hussein’s lamentations as unfounded.

Ombongi said he has been working very hard to ensure everyone eligible to get the ID gets it.

“But we will not be intimidated by anyone to issue the IDs to anyone coming from South Sudan, Tanzania, or Uganda. Whoever deserves the ID will get it but the rest will have to go back to their own country to get national IDs there,” Ombongi said.

“I have told them if the registrar of persons is not good, they can come to my office but only those eligible for Kenyan ID cards will get them.”

Mr. Hussein said the vetting subjected on Nubians when they seek registration is a discrimination practice because only citizens living close to borders should be vetted before being issued with IDs.

He said the government has failed to set up inclusive measures in place to ensure that safety concerns do not hinder the delivery of services.

Hussein said it is distasteful that Shona and Makonde communities have been given recognition and citizenship before Nubians who “were here before Kenya was Kenya” and said they will fight any attempts to list Nubians as Kenyans by registration.