In a strong-worded and fiery outburst from a leading Azimio member which interestingly managed to unite the Azimio and Kenya Kwanza camps as they ganged up against him in a vicious lash back, ethnicity sadly reared its ugly head into Kenyan public discourse once more.
Alinur Mohammed, a vocal supporter of Raila Odinga and one of this year’s unsuccessful political contestants in the recently concluded election took to Twitter to claim that Kenyans owe the Somali community a lot. He said that the community had brought a lot of sensitisation in businesses such as Real Estate, Forex trading and textiles. He decried the ill treatment that his community has apparently received despite all this, and threateningly added that if the Somali community was to pull out its resources, Kenyans would be the poorer. Noticeably, he didn’t specify whether he was talking about Kenyans of Somali origin or Somalia nationals living in Kenya. His tweet read,
Kenya owes a lot to the Somali Community. We’ve enlightened other Kenyans on entrepreneurship from real estate, Forex, textile & retail. Yet the gov’t subjects us 2 illegal vetting when seeking IDs & Passports. If Somalis decided 2 pull their resources out,Kenyans will be poorer!
This resulted in a barrage of angry comments from a diverse group of Kenyans who not only dismissed his claims but also dared him and his community to act on their threat and pull out their resources.
Somalis are among six populous tribes in Kenya. According to Kenya’s 2019 population census, there are 2.8 million indigenous Somalis in Kenya – a figure disputed as many pastoral Somalis go unaccounted for. They predominantly live in the North Eastern Province – previously known as the Northern Frontier District (NFD) – an area of 102,000 square miles (264,179 square kilometers). The NFD was under the British colonial administration.
To put it in historical context, the “Pan-Somalism” movement that started in the early 20th century aimed to unite Somali inhabited territories in East Africa (Italian Somaliland, British Somaliland, French Somaliland, the Somali region in Ethiopia and the NFD in Kenya) to form a greater Somalia.
This push has, over the years, blurred the line between indigenous Somalis and those of neighbouring territories.
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