NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 6 – Members of Parliament now want Identity Cards issued at the county level within the next six months.
Speaking while moving a Motion urging the government to decentralise the issuance of National Identity Cards from Nairobi to the 47 Counties, Nominated MP Mohammed Affey noted that Kenyans face serious challenges in acquisition of national Identity Cards.
Section 174(h) of the Constitution provides that one of the objects of devolution is to "facilitate the decentralisation of State organs, their functions and services, from the capital of Kenya."
He said that 80 percent of applications from North Eastern are rejected.
"It takes up to six months to one year before rejection is returned to the owner while the Constitution facilitates decentralisation of State organs which should be done before next general election," he said.
"In Wajir, it takes close to five years… even the picture changes colour because of the vetting process. Ladies who were married have six to seven children with no Identity Cards because the government is overwhelmed in Nairobi," said the Nominated MP.
The MP said immigration officers should move to schools in 47 counties to issue the documents and also ensure that thousands of young people are able to register.
Mr Affey said police officers were harassing youths who lacked the national document.
"Make it a requirement for police not to ask for IDs, that is not the business of police," he asserted.
The Environment Assistant Minister Margaret Kamar and Sotik MP Joyce Laboso told the Parliament that the process should be faster and efficient.
Mrs Kamar said that from next budget, the document should be issued at county level; she was supported by the Sotik MP who felt that the county level will be faster and more efficient.
Immigration Minister Otieno Kajwang said the government would require additional funding in next year\’s budget.
Mr Kajwang said: "The issuance is something that should be done at the grassroots, the irony it would only take 15 minutes to verify the applicant\’s details but we have to insist on the details being sent to Nairobi as some people would give false information."
"However we are going to revolutionise the issuance of IDs but funds are a challenge," he said.
The minister further said that there was a plan to issue the IDs at the district level with an online confirmation from Nairobi; which can be achieved through technical equipment such as a central database.
Yatta MP Charles Kilonzo said that about 50 percent of adults in his constituency have no IDs, and accused the ministry of sleeping on the job.
He said the registration process had turned out to be a nightmare for married women who would like to change their names to include their husband\’s names.
Mr Kilonzo proposed the introduction of interim IDs while some MPs said that the issue should brought to the attention of the two principals.
MPs Ekwe Ethuro, Aden Duale, Najib Balala complained about different requirements for issuance of IDs people of Northern Kenya are subjected to saying that it amounted to a categorisation of citizens
Nominated MP Sheikh Dor said that the details of the applicant\’s parents only should be sufficient.
There was a light moment in the House when Kisumu Town West MP Shakeel Shabir said he could not understand the hullabaloo around the shortage of free condoms when most qualified Kenyans have no IDs.
"You would rather have an ID than a condom," he said.
Follow the author at https://twitter.com/Lwanambisi