Drive For Garissa Residents To Acquire ID
A Garissa based community based organization has joined efforts with other government agencies in helping area residents acquire crucial national documents. The efforts have raised hope for residents who have grappled with challenges of acquiring essential documents which include national identity cards and birth certificates.
Haki na Sheria has partnered with the Garissa civil registration office in facilitating the issuance of birth certificates registrations and distribution to the residents. The head of programs Bare Kerrow said there have been mounting problems acquiring the documents since many residents were not even aware of the procedures to follow. ”Getting citizenship document including Identity cards, birth certificates and others have been major problem, these difficulties are historic for the communities living near the border regions with Somalia” said Bare
He said the organization has been helping residents in filling the birth certificate and ID forms paving way for the official issuance process. “We have deployed paralegals to educate the communities and support them to prepare the necessary documentations during registration of birth certificates and IDs” he added.
Demand for birth certificates has been on the rise following the requirement from the education ministry that every child should have personal identification number (PIN) for registration in respective schools..
Kenyans living along the border have faced difficulties acquiring birth certificates and national identity cards. For thousands of Northern Kenya residents acquiring these documents are hampered by unnecessary red tape and bureaucracy. Without the crucial documents, it is a daunting task for locals as they cannot secure jobs, start business enterprises, open a bank account or even travel to Nairobi, the seat of power.
Recently, locals demonstrated to demand fair issuance of national identity cards accusing the clerical officers of harassment and discrimination. Thousands of the residents failed to vote in last year’s election because they lacked the document. A paltry 9,869 new voters were registered ahead of the polls against the IEBC’s 26,666 target. Many young men and women who deserved to vote lacked ID cards.
Many bona fide Kenyans are languishing in citizenship limbo because they flee hunger to refugee camps many from the north of Garissa and south of Wajir Counties. Some locals are in the UNHCR data base after they registered to receive aid. Government statistics indicate that about 70,000 residents are in the UNHCR data base hence complicating the situation. This government figure is a conservative estimate according to residents we spoke to.