Quartz: Adding Asians to Kenya’s List of Tribes

In July, Kenya’s government declared Asians as the nation’s 44th indigenous group after a successful petition from the Asian community, a nod to their long history in the country. Although individuals from the Indian subcontinent, referred to as Asians in Kenya, first immigrated en masse to the East African nation in the late 1800s, they still face scapegoating, racism and violence. Critics “suggested that the decision reeked of election gimmickry” in favor of President Uhuru Kenyatta, who is running again in the August 8 general election, writes Abdi Latif Dahir for Quartz. For Dahir, the move reflects how tribal affiliation plays an outsized role in Kenya, with six of 44 tribes occupying more than 70 percent of all jobs available in Kenyan’s higher learning institutions and public service. These figures do not prove systemic tribal disparities, however, as the six tribes also comprise more than 70 percent of Kenya’s population. Whether the designation simply serves as a symbolic gesture or establishes rights in practical terms is still an unresolved question. – YaleGlobal

Quartz: Adding Asians to Kenya’s List of Tribes

Asians, long a part of Kenya’s social fabric, become the 44th tribe amidst national discussion of what it means to be a tribe
Abdi Latif Dahir
Wednesday, August 9, 2017

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Abdi Latif Dahir is a reporter with Quartz Africa. He holds a master’s of arts degree in political journalism from Columbia University. He speaks Somali, Arabic, and Swahili.

Read more about Kenya’s tribes here and here.        

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