The 2019 population census results released the other day by Cabinet Secretary for National Treasury and Planning Amb. Ukur Yatani was not in order by referring Somalis who live in Kenya as “Kenyan Somalis”.
This reference by Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) was ill advised, and may easily be interpreted to mean Somalis who live in Kenya are second class citizens. Whether the error was intended or not, the Somalis deserve an apology from KNBS.
There are few other tribes distributed both in Kenya and neighboring countries. There is a Luo tribe in Uganda yet we don’t refer the ones in Nyanza as Kenyan Luos, we have Maasai tribe in Tanzania, but we don’t call our “Kenyan Maasais”. A fortnight ago, there were even reports of Maragolis in Uganda who wants to be recognized a tribe in Uganda. Maragolis are largely in Kenya under Luhya tribe.
The areas of North Eastern region which largely holds the Somalis living in Kenya has always had a feeling of minority despite being ranked position six among the etghnic rankings with a population of 2,780,502.
Historical injustice, both pre/post-independent governments, have contributed immensely to the minority feeling amongst the Somalis.
Previous governments have neglected the region leading to poor infrastructure, education and general economic development. The region has been targeted for Al Shabaab recruitment based in Somalia. It has also been targeted for frequent terror attacks from the militia from the neighboring Somalia.
The terming of the ethnic tribe as Kenyan Somali will most definitely be used by Al Shabaab in their propaganda to win the hearts and minds of the Somalis living in Kenya. The NFD separatists’ agendas will also capitalize on it in their calls for secession.