In spite of a report prepared by a commission in 1962 showing that 88% of the inhabitants of the Northern Frontier District wanted to be part of the Somali Republic, Britain went against the people’s wishes. On March 8th 1963, the North Eastern Region was carved out of the Northern Frontier District and given to Kenya and the Somali Republic as a response severed diplomatic relations with Britain.
The Kenyan government was not willing to give up the region and this led to immediate protests in the region and a declaration of a state of emergency. There was dissent over the next few years with both political dissent through the Northern Province Peoples Progressive Party (NPPPP) and violent dissent whose members were later labeled the “Shifta”
The government set up repressive measures aimed at curbing it including curfews and military intervention over the years which led to scores of massacres and human rights violations over decades.
The government wanted to keep the region by force but at an arm’s length without developing it or treating residents like citizens. Kenyans of Somali origin were Kenyan by legally enforced boundaries but not Kenyan enough to be treated like human beings.
The series explore the creation and negotiation of citizenship and the ongoing marginalisation that’s manifested itself through armed force, social and economic measures.
Photo Credits: Awjama Cultural Centre and the Heinrich Boll Foundation