, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 2 – The government has stopped the issuance of Identity Cards for the next three months as the country transits to the third generation identify cards.
Immigration Minister Otieno Kajwang told Parliament on Wednesday that the Cabinet had ordered a halt to the issuance of the old ID cards and the commencement of tendering for supply of materials for the new kind of ID.
“We have to engage someone to do it and follow the procurement rules,” said Mr Kajwang.
There has been a slow production of the ID cards since 2005 when a contract for the production of the current cards lapsed, and the government has been renewing the contract in bits as it made efforts to transit to the third generation cards.
“We are going out to continue with registration. What we will not do is to give them ID cards because we do not have materials,” he said.
The Minister said the Treasury had assured him of money to carry out mobile registration across the country. Mr Kajwang however faced a backlash in the House after MPs accused him of laxity.
“Why do we have to wait that long as we look for foreign companies. Why not look for a local company that can even wait to be paid next year. Why not hire Pokomos?” asked Garsen MP Danson Mungatana.
The Minister however argued: “You will have to understand this is not just a piece of paper. An ID is a secure document.”
Government whip Jakoyo Midiwo accused the government of denying Kenyans a basic right.
“We have people who have finished form four but don’t have ID cards. People cannot get jobs. This is a violation of the Constitution,” said Mr Midiwo.
Nominated MP Millie successfully urged the Speaker to refer the matter to the departmental committee on Administration and National Security.
“This MP has no sufficient answers and this is a matter of national unity,” she argued.
Yatta MP Charles Kilonzo called on the government to recognise provisional registration documents given to those waiting for the ID cards which the Minster confirmed to be considered an official document.
Juja MP William Kabogo had even harsher words terming it as “collective irresponsibility.”
“He has already told us that this action is unconstitutional,” he said.
Follow the author at https://twitter.com/waitheras