Kenya grants Italian priest permanent citizenship after 50 years

Fr Romano
Father Romano Filipe displays his permanent Kenyan citizenship certificate. [Photo: Kanini Kega]

Italian priest Father Romano Filipe can finally smile after being granted permanent Kenyan citizenship after 50 years in the Kenyan Catholic church.

Fr Romano currently serves in Nyeri. Just as he celebrated his birthday over the weekend, the Kenyan government presented him with permanent Kenyan citizenship as a birthday gift for his service.

Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe presented Fr Romano with a Kenyan citizenship certificate.

When he started his priesthood journey, he was posted in Narumoru after being ordained in Italy. He served this parish for 17 years.

His service has earned him the Kenyan name “Mureithii”. The faithful who he has shepherded over the years fondly call him so.

Fr Romano has been credited with great transformation of Narumoru where he served. His efforts paid off in transitioning the once arid area to a semi-arid area where farming began.

During his tenure at Mugunda Catholic parish, he sunk boreholes and built school, all of which has contributed to the growth and development of the region.

Monicah Njeri, one of Mugunda Catholic parish members said that “When Romano came here, this area was very remote in fact many of us were hungry and would always rely on him to provide us with relief food, but to our surprise, he looked for donors and now we have water for irrigation and domestic use in addition he set up schools and our kids are now educated that is why he was given citizenship.”

Fr Romano’s wish has been to spend the rest of his life at Mugunda parish and when his final hour comes, he wants to be laid to rest here.

Kagwe said that the government respected his wish which is why he was granted permanent Kenyan citizenship.

 “Romano wants to live among you and that is why we as a government have given him this certificate which now gives him all rights enjoyed by Kenyans,” the CS stated.