Gov’t breaks silence on passport issuance delays

Thursday, February 15th, 2024 16:43 | By
Gov't breaks silence on passport issuance delays
Government Spokesperson Isaac Mwaura addresses the media in Nairobi on Thursday, February 15, 2024. PHOTO/Spokesperson GoK(@SpokespersonGoK)/X

The government has acknowledged delays in the processing of passports at the immigration department amid rising protests from frustrated applicants.

In a statement on Thursday, February 15, 2024, Government Spokesperson Isaac Mwaura attributed the crisis to delays in the supply of 34-page passport booklets which go for Ksh4,550.

"The shortage has been caused by slow delivery of the booklets by the supplier," Mwaura stated.

The spokesperson, however, assured the affected members of the public that efforts are ongoing to ensure a steady supply of the booklets sourced from abroad due to security reasons.

"The documents are usually printed outside the country for security reasons leaving only the applicant's Bio-data page to be printed locally upon application," he added.

"A consignment of the booklets is on the way and will land in the country soon and the problem will be a thing of the past."

In the meantime, Mwaura asked those with urgent needs for a passport to apply for the 50-page passports which are available in plenty. A passport in this category costs Ksh6,050.

This is not the first time Kenyans have experienced delays in acquiring passports despite promises to improve efficiency in the passport application and processing system.

Last year, Interior and National Administration Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki pledged to streamline the system by weeding out cartels and brokers fleecing Kenyans at Nyayo House.

He also promised to acquire more passport printing machines after complaints of a faulty printer.

Meanwhile, Mwaura on Thursday also addressed the rising backlog of identity cards (IDs) applications.

He blamed the delays on the court order suspending the production of the 3rd generation IDs.

"An appeal has been made on the case," he said.

According to Mwaura, 600,000 applications for the cards are pending at the civil registration offices countrywide even as some other 684,000 IDs lie uncollected.

He assured of the government's commitment to embark on massive production of the vital document once the appeal is granted.

"We appeal to those yet to collect their documents to do so, in order to avoid inconveniences in their official as well as private transactions," he said.

The High Court had in December last year halted the government's decision to register people and issue new generation ID cards pending the outcome of the case filed by Katiba Institute.

In the case, Katiba Institute argues that the state has no legal basis for implementing the Maisha Namba, which they claim violates Section 31 of the Data Protection Act.

“The Maisha Number is meant to replace the stalled attempt to roll out the Huduma Namba. As with the Huduma Number, the Maisha Namba requires Kenya to provide biographical information and biometric data, including date of birth, gender, facial image, parentage information and contact information," Katiba Institute argues.

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