Unmasking Ethnic Minorities and Marginalized Communities in Kenya: Who and Where?

National Gender and Equality Commission

Executive Summary

The National Gender and Equality Commission (NGEC) is an independent Constitutional Commission with the mandate of promoting gender equality and freedom from discrimination in compliance with Article 27 of the Constitution. The constitution in Article 56 requires state to design programmes that ensure minorities and marginalized communities are represented in governance and all other spheres such as education, economic activities, and employment among others.

As part of its mandate the Commission undertook a study whose primary objective is to identify minorities and marginalized communities of Kenya, and outline major issues affecting these communities in all counties. In addition, this report has utilized demographics from the 2009 National Population and Housing Census Report.

The report documents historical perspectives to marginalization in Kenya, in particular detailing various legislative and administrative reforms during colonial and post-colonial period that entrenched marginalization. Drawing on countries’ experiences, the report presents international practices on representation and integration of ethnic minorities and Marginalized communities in varying spheres of development.

The study findings indicate that minority and marginalized groups have low literacy rates; higher unemployment rates; limited or no access to transport and communication infrastructure; limited or no access to social amenities; experience water scarcity and food insecurity; high poverty levels; negative climatic effects and are insecure.

Based on the findings of the study, the report suggests recommendations to various stakeholders: The national and county governments, Article 59 Commissions and other commissions and independent offices, the political parties and non-state actors. A priority inclusive agenda issue for the minorities and marginalized communities is to have a ‘political voice’ through representation at the County Assembly and Parliament, to fast track the drive to address other social and economic issues.