The Marriage Registry at the Office of the Attorney General has initiated online services to allow marriages to continue.
Speaking to the media at Sheria House Thursday, Chief Administrative Secretary Ms. Winne Guchu noted that before the Covid-19 pandemic hit the country, the registry had a total of 815 applications for civil marriages which could not be processed. She pointed out that 793 out the 815 applications have expired and only 22 were within the 90 days’ notice required by law.
“Going forward, all applications will be handled online and applicants will only visit the registry ones all application procedures and payments are completed,” said Ms. Guchu.
She clarified that the marriage registry would start with the pending 793 applications before allowing new applicants on the system. She also noted that where payments had been done, no further charges would be imposed on applicants.
On the issue of numbers who attend the marriage ceremony, Ms. Guchu stressed that only four people would be allowed in the marriage room.
“The four people attending the ceremony will include the couple wedding, one witness and the registrar of marriages,” said Ms. Guchu. The restriction is meant to adhere to social distancing as per the Ministry of Health guidelines.
In anticipation of large numbers of applications expected due to backlog, Ms. Guchu hinted at the possibility of marriages being conducted in open spaces as opposed to the Sheria house alone. She pointed out that this would allow more marriages to be conducted in a shorter period.
As for Christian, Hindu and Islamic marriages, application procedures would be online and they would only visit the registry for certification.
By the time marriages were stopped, there were 1,758 such applications pending which would now go to the online platform.
In attendance was the Registrar General at the office of the AG and Department of Justice Ms. Mary Njuya.
By Benedict Wasiche