Kenya grants citizenship to stateless Pemba community

Kenyan President William Ruto awarded citizenship late Friday to members of the Pemba community who have been stateless for nearly a century.

The Pemba people, believed to have migrated from the Zanzibar archipelago before Kenya gained independence, had lived without a recognized nationality, facing untold hardships and marginalization due to their statelessness. 

Ruto declared that the time had come to rectify the historical injustice. 

“This, effectively, ends the Pemba community’s statelessness and marginalization that has lasted for close to 100 years,” he said.

Ruto granted citizenship to members of the Pemba community – numbering 8,000 — according to estimates by the UN refugee agency — acknowledging their identity and rightful place in the nation with access to the same rights, opportunities and services enjoyed by Kenyans. 

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