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Chiefs will be held accountable for IDs issued to foreigners

The current multi-agency vetting teams have been dissolved over frustrations linked to corruption and inordinate delays

The new arrangement will ensure that only qualified applicants obtain ID cards

Chiefs will take personal responsibility for any Kenyan National ID Card issued to foreigners in their regions after the dissolution of vetting committees from Wednesday this week.

Immigration and Citizen Services PS Julius Bitok and his Interior and National Administration counterpart Raymond Omollo said the new arrangement will ensure that only qualified applicants obtain ID cards.

It follows a Presidential directive to do away with the current multi-agency vetting teams that have been blamed for frustrations linked to corruption and inordinate delays in issuing ID cards to communities living along national borders.

PS Bitok said chiefs will be required to append their thumbprints in addition to their signature to each approved application that must be presented by a parent or a relative-by-blood of applicants who are mainly youth who attain 18 years and above.

“We will hold chiefs to a personal account for any Kenyan ID issued to a foreigner because they will have endorsed the application. They will have to take responsibility for their actions,” Bitok said.

Dr Omollo said under the new directive, chiefs will be required to work closely with other security agents to ensure no Kenyan is unfairly denied an ID while also protecting the country’s security interests and the integrity of the registration process.

“Proper identification of bonafide citizens for issuance of identification documents is paramount to counter security threats such as terrorism that occur due to illegal registration of immigrants,” PS Omollo said.

The PSs were speaking at the Kenya School of Government, Kabete, during an induction workshop on ‘Registration Guidelines for Border and Cosmopolitan Counties’ for regional and county commissioners and county National ID registrars.

The highlight of the new guidelines that will affect 20 counties is the dissolution of the vetting committees that comprised of the National Registration Bureau, National Intelligence Service, Directorate of Criminal Intelligence, Immigration, Civil Registration Services and chiefs and their assistants.

Applicants will also be restricted to verifying their claim to Kenyan citizenship through their parents or a guardian who must be a close blood relative.

There have been complaints that the vetting teams had morphed into extortion rings that demanded bribes from applicants and that sold Kenyan registration documents to foreigners.

PS Bitok said the dissolution of the vetting committees is also in compliance with constitutional provisions and international conventions that oblige the government to provide registration documents to all deserving citizens without discrimination or undue frustrations.

He said the introduction of the digital ID last year under the Maisha ecosystem which also features a Unique Personal Identifier (UPI) and an integrated national population database will make it easier to identify genuine applicants for registration documents including birth certificates and passports.

“The Maisha ecosystem assigns a unique number at birth that is linked to a family tree. It therefore means by the time one turns 18 and applies for an ID, we will have all his/her relevant data. There will be no need for further verification.”

PS Omollo directed the regional and county commissioners to ensure that chiefs were appraised of the new regulations by Wednesday when they become operational.

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