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Beba Beba drive to assist porters get IDs

A Ward Rep in Embu, in collaboration with the office of the County Commissioner and Registrar of Persons, has initiated a programme of issuing porters, commonly known as “Beba Beba”, with national identification cards.

This is after it emerged that a good number of them lacked the crucial security and citizenship documents and thus were subjected to many challenges, including the inability to get government services, employment, and harassment by security personnel.

Out of over 600 porters who turned out at Talent Academy Grounds in Embu Town for the exercise organised by area (Kirimari) MCA Ibrahim Swaleh, close to 200 did not have IDs, while another lot had lost them.

“The biggest problem for these people has been lack of IDs that has locked them from enjoying government services,” the MCA said.

He added that once they are issued IDs, they will be able to organise them into registered self-help groups that, among other benefits, will give them financial inclusion towards self-reliance.

“We want them to form smaller groups where, as leaders, we could assist them with seed capital to start income-generating projects to keep them busy and eradicate alcoholism, drugs, and crime,” he said.

Embu West Sub-County Registration Officer Margaret Muthoni said the exercise aimed at establishing their status with regard to IDs, as there were those who have never applied; others have lost them and need replacement; and others have not been successful for lack of supporting documents.

She said they would sieve the collected data and group it according to their needs so that they could be assisted in securing their IDs.

The Beba Beba fraternity expressed joy with the initiative, saying it would give them a sense of belonging and also enable them to form their own organisation.

The group leader, Benjamin Mwangi, said it has been a tall order for them to register a welfare group since they were turned away for lacking identification documents for some of their members.

Porters Samuel Mugambi and Daniel Mutugi said the development would help remove the notion that the group is composed of criminals for lack of proof of identity.

Mutugi said another challenge they faced in their line of duty was the inability to transact business electronically as they could not register for mobile money payments for lack of the crucial document.

The MCA also said he would soon organise a medical camp for the porters, as many were suffering from respiratory illnesses as a result of working in adverse weather conditions.

By Samuel Waititu

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