NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 17 – The National Assembly wants the Government to review the procedure and the cost of marriage registration in order to reduce bureaucracy and enhance accessibility.
Ugunja MP James Wandayi and David Gikaria of Nakuru Town East noted that prohibitive costs were among the reasons why most couples have opted for ‘come-we-stay’ unions.
“We are telling people not to come and stay but then we tell them if you have to get married you must travel from Turkana to Nakuru to look for a marriage certificate. If we continue like this everyone is going to get married in the bush,” Kipkelion East MP Joseph Limo said.
Saku MP Ali Rasso Dida, Ferdinand Wanyonyi (Kwanza) and Robert Mbui (Kathiani) called for decentralization of offices of the Registrar of Marriages to all sub-counties with Kajiado County Woman Representative Mary Seneta proposing that Huduma Centres be used as marriage registration points.
“We should also look into how to make it a digital process, such that you can apply from the Huduma Centre, I even don’t know why we should go to registrar of marriages to pick up our certificates,” Seneta said.
“The people want services to move to the sub-location, we are even supposed to be saying that the assistant chiefs to register marriages after all we what is to witness that these two people have decided to stay together,” said Wanyonyi.
The MPs who were contributing to a private members motion sponsored by Malava MP Malulu Injendi said there were only 12 offices for the registration of marriages in the whole country, making it difficult to issue notices of marriages.
“We have seen how important this institution is to us. The current nominee for Central Bank… no one can understand why he does not have a wife. I had a similar predicament when I stood for Parliament and apparently at that time I had no one on my side and it became a very big issue,” Mbui said as he commented on the newspaper-grabbing headline revelation by CBK Governor nominee Patrick Ngugi Njoroge that he is single at the age of 54.
Cornelly Serem (Aldai) added; “those of us who had the opportunity to hear from the candidate who is vying to be the Governor of the Central Bank of Kenya was not given the opportunity to tell us why he does not have a family and if we would have gone deeper, maybe this could be another factor why he does not have a wife.”
Marriage registration in the country is done under the new Marriage Act which was implemented in May 2014.
Under the new law, couples are required to pay Sh600 up from Sh200 for notifying the Registrar that they intend to formalize their union.
Conducting a search for a marriage certificate costs Sh500 up from Sh200.
Marriage fees also increased from Sh1,500 to Sh2,000 while Kenyans abroad have to part with Sh10,000 from Sh5,000 for unions arranged in Kenya’s embassies and high commissions.