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RENDERING DIFFERENCE VISIBLE: THE KENYAN STATE AND ITS SOMALI CITIZENS

By  EMMA LOCHERY
Sept. 11, 2012

RENDERING DIFFERENCE VISIBLE: THE KENYAN STATE AND ITS SOMALI CITIZENS

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RENDERING DIFFERENCE VISIBLE: THE KENYAN STATE AND ITS SOMALI CITIZENS

Terrorism Security Policing

This article examines the history of Somalis in Kenya. It argues that the precarious citizenship status of Kenyan Somalis is rooted in the institutionalization of state power in Kenya and the ways in which social relations have mediated that power. It focuses on a screening exercise organized by the Kenyan government in 1989 to differentiate citizens from non-citizens. Somalis deemed non-citizens were detained and deported while those declared citizens were granted pink ‘certificates of verification’. The exercise was framed as a response to disorder and insecurity in northern Kenya – problems blamed on the increased presence of ‘aliens’ from Somalia.