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Asian community in Kenya gets tribal status

Asian community in Kenya gets tribal status


Kenyans of Asian heritage have been granted official recognition as the 44th tribe in the country.

The Kenyan government granted the status last week after years of petitioning by the Kenyan Asian community made up of about 46,782 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 order.

The community was formally inducted by the Acting Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiangi who urged them to play an active role in public service.

“No one should discriminate against you, intimidate you or exclude you unnecessarily from all the affairs of our nation,” he added.

He commended them for their role in setting up health and education institutions as well as contribution to economic development.

Kenyan Asians have been in the East African country since the late 1800s from India and Pakistan.

From the 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.

According to the 2009 census, Kenyan Asians number 46,782, while Asians without Kenyan citizenship number 35,009 people.

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