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Residents in Northern Kenya to Get IDs within 21 Days on Application

The Government has assured residents of the six Counties of Northern Kenya that they will now get ID cards within 21 days of application.

Immigration and Citizen Services Principal Secretary Mr. Julius Bitok gave the assurance when he hosted Northern Kenya Counties MPs for talks on issuance of birth certificates, IDs and Passports and added the government is also reviewing the mandatory vetting of applicants to speed up the process.

“The Government, through the State Department for Immigration and Citizen Services, and in consultation with the North Eastern Kenya political leadership and other stakeholders, is committed to an agreeable solution to review application processes for issuance of identification documents,” said Bitok.

He said the Government is keen on ending discrimination in the issuance of these crucial documents against residents of Northern Kenya, particularly those of Somali ethnic origin.

At the meeting, Bitok said the Ministry is making proposals to improve issuance of personal identification documents in the region by replacing vetting teams with grassroots identification teams composed of at least two village elders to provide a friendlier, faster and citizen service centric process.

The PS also cited restructuring and devolving the Sub County identification committees to location, sub location and village level to enhance efficiency and transparency.

“This will literally take services closer to residents and cut down on the waiting time for applicants. It will also save applicants travel costs and time spent especially in vast regions when seeking services,” he said.

The PS also stated that with the help of the National Government Administrative Officers (NGAOs), they will ensure ready documents are delivered to bonafide applicants as soon as possible.

He further highlighted that National Registration Bureau (NRB) and Civil Registration Bureau (CRS) will embark on mobile mass registration targeting all unregistered persons.

“Those who will have attained 18 years and above will be processed for IDs while minors will be issued with Unique Personal Identifier (UPI) that they can use to apply for IDs on attaining 18 years without further vetting,” added Bitok.

MPs from Mandera, Garissa, Wajir, Marsabit, Tana River and Isiolo counties led by Saku MP Ali Rasso Dido and Mandera North MP Abdullah Bashir Sheikh called for an end to the vetting saying it amounted to discrimination and hampered access to registration documents.

The meeting agreed to decentralise identification teams to locations and sub-locations within the counties and to deploy mobile registration teams from National Registration Bureau and Civil Registration Services to expedite registration.

National Government Administration officers will also be used for faster delivery of IDs to applicants.

The meeting was also attended by the Chair, President’s Council of Economic Affairs (PCEA) Dr. David Ndii and PCEA member, Mr. Mohammed Hassan.

By Hamdi Mohamud

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