Asians in Kenya have asked the government to recognize them as the country’s 44th ethnic community.
The group said President Uhuru Kenyatta should do what he did to the Makonde in Kwale after they were recognized as the country’s 43rd community when they complained of decades of marginalization.
The Makonde marched from Kwale County to Nairobi late last year to air their grievances.
They were supported by several civil society groups.
Mother’s Lap Foundation executive director Farah Mannzoor on Thursday said Asians made the decision “because we have exercised our duty as citizens”.
“Asians, came here in the 1820s as merchants and masons. Later in the 1890s, they played an important role in the construction of the Uganda railway,” she said.
“The railway opened up the interior of Kenya and wherever it passed, trading centres sprang up. From that time, Kenya continues to enjoy trade with neighbouring Uganda and other countries.”
She argued that Asians in Kenya had played significant roles in various sectors of the economy.
“Our diversity and sense of togetherness in good and bad times have clearly reflected our steady socio-economic development, not just in East and Central Africa but in the rest of the continent,” she said.
Kenya National Council of Elders, Nairobi chapter chairman John Mugwe supported the community’s petition.
“We shall help to push for the community’s recognition. We know our President has a good heart and I am sure he will listen to their pleas,” Mr Mugwe said.
Denco Consultant director Joshua Onono Odongo also backed the petition.
By: Stella Cherono
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