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Chiefs urged to be vigilant in processing application for documents

Nakuru County Commissioner Gilbert Kitiyo has directed chiefs, vetting committees and civil registration officials to be extra vigilant while processing applications for identity cards and birth certificates to ensure that only Kenyans acquire the crucial documents.

Mr. Kitiyo stated that government staff responsible for issuing these documents caught either engaging themselves in fraud for monetary gain, or failing to apply due diligence in discharging their duty will face disciplinary action.

He said some of those who get identity cards fraudulently were terrorists or who turn against Kenyans and attack them or were outlaws on the run from their native countries engaged in international crime rings.

The County Commissioner warned that members of vetting committees caught soliciting bribes in order to clear individuals seeking to acquire ID cards will face the wrath of the law.

The State at the grassroots, particularly on the border points depends on vetting committees comprising of councils of elders for credible identification of youth seeking Kenyan identification documents.

“We want all Kenyans to know a national ID is a right, not a privilege. They should not pay for a service the Government provides free of charge. We shall not hesitate to take disciplinary action against anyone using their positions to solicit for bribes in order to offer government services, be they civil servants or elders entrusted with vetting ID card seekers,” he said.

Mr. Kitiyo who made the remarks during a tour of Bahati and Gilgil Sub-Counties indicated that individuals who provide facilitation to aliens to acquire Kenyan Identity Cards and passports would be subjected to prompt prosecution.

“Civil registration officials who collude with vetting committees and chiefs to issue identification cards to aliens will equally face the law. Though hindrance to easy access to critical documents like the Identity Card which enhances the enjoyment of rights and freedoms, is a violation of these very rights, stringent vetting does not mean we want to discriminate but we have to be vigilant,” the administrator affirmed.

He expressed concern that foreigners may use their illegally acquired documents to acquire Kenyan passports, open bank accounts, register for mobile money transfer services, enroll in local learning institutions, travel abroad, and apply for local jobs or even join the police or the military, thus posing a serious threat to the national security.

Mr. Kitiyo further directed chiefs and their assistants to ensure that uncollected national identity cards and birth certificates are delivered to applicants.

“You know people in your areas, make sure they collect their documents from registration centres. That is part of the service Kenyans expect from you,” added the administrator.

During the tour Mr. Kitiyo held a series of meetings with Deputy County Commissioners, Assistants County Commissioners, Departmental heads, chiefs and assistant chiefs.

He urged Chiefs and their assistants to cultivate good social relations with members of the public to enable them get crucial information about youth suspected of involvement in criminal activities including joining terror groups and organised criminal gangs.

Mr. Kitiyo said there was need by the administrators to promote initiatives aimed at embracing reformed youth to discourage criminal activities.

Reformed youth, he noted face stigmatisation, hindering their reintegration into society after denouncing terrorist groups and other criminal gangs.

“There is a need to address the mistrust and embrace reformed youth with open arms to encourage their former partners in crime to disengage. Some criminals are willing to be rehabilitated and reintegrated into society,” added Mr. Kitiyo.

He ordered a fresh crackdown on the production and sale of illicit alcoholic drinks. The administrator asked Deputy County Commissioners, chiefs and their assistants to intensify the operation and ensure the culprits are arrested.

Mr. Kitiyo called on national government officers to serve their citizens diligently without any kind of discrimination.

He noted that in the 2010 constitution, it is the right of the citizens as taxpayers to get government services or information as required.

By Anne Mwale

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