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Kenya grants tribal status to Asian community
August 7, 2017, 5:26 pm

Asian community in Kenya, which has long petitioned the government to grant them a separate tribal status, were gratified last week with the official announcement that Kenyans of Asian heritage would henceforth be recognized as the 44th tribe in the country.

Kenyans of Asian heritage make up about 46,782 people, while Asians without Kenyan citizenship number 35,009 people, according to the 2009 census figures. “All persons, bodies and authorities within the Republic of Kenya shall recognize the community of Kenyans of Asian heritage as being Kenya’s 44th tribe,” President Uhuru Kenyatta said in an official proclamation last week. “No one should discriminate against you, intimidate you or exclude you unnecessarily from all the affairs of our nation,” he added.

The president commended the community for their role in setting up health and education institutions, as well as contributing to the economic development of Kenya. The community, made up of people from Indian subcontinent, has been an integral part of Kenya since the late 1800s. It is estimated that starting from 1890 to 1914 there were more Indians in Kenya than white colonial settlers. They controlled wholesale and retail trade of goods and some worked as semi-skilled workers such as clerks to support the settler government. They chose to preserve their traditions and culture.

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