Chiefs to Face Accountability for Issuing IDs to Foreigners

April 30, 2024

Following the dissolution of vetting committees starting this Wednesday, chiefs will assume personal responsibility for any Kenyan National ID Card issued to foreigners in their regions.

Julius Bitok, the Immigration and Citizen Services PS, along with his counterpart Raymond Omollo from the Interior and National Administration, announced the new arrangement yesterday. They stated that this measure would ensure that only qualified applicants receive ID cards.

This change comes in response to a Presidential directive to eliminate the current multi-agency vetting teams, which have been criticized for corruption-related frustrations and excessive delays in issuing ID cards to communities residing along national borders.

PS Bitok further stated that chiefs will now be required to affix their thumbprints, in addition to their signatures, to each approved application. These applications must be presented by a parent or a blood relative of the applicants, who are primarily young individuals reaching the age of 18 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.

No Kenyan Will Be Unfairly Denied an ID

Dr. Omollo on his part stated that under the new directive, chiefs will need to collaborate closely with other security agents to ensure that no Kenyan is unfairly denied an ID. Simultaneously, they will be tasked with safeguarding the country’s security interests and maintaining 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.

PS Bitok emphasized that the dissolution of the vetting committees aligns with constitutional provisions and international conventions, which mandate the government to furnish registration documents to all deserving citizens without discrimination or undue frustrations.

He further explained that the introduction of the digital ID last year under the Maisha ecosystem, which incorporates a Unique Personal Identifier (UPI) and an integrated national population database, will facilitate the identification of 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 are briefed on the new regulations by Wednesday, when they are set to become operational.

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