EDITORIAL: Government is right in dissolving ID vetting committees

EDITORIAL: Government is right in dissolving ID vetting committees

The decision by the government to dissolve vetting committees responsible for issuing national IDs is a commendable and long-awaited step in the right direction.

This move reflects a commitment to upholding the fundamental rights of Kenyan citizens and adhering to constitutional provisions and international conventions that safeguard against discrimination in access to citizenship.

The dissolution of these committees is a necessary response to widespread complaints of corruption and extortion, with reports suggesting that they had devolved into nothing short of extortion rings, demanding bribes from applicants and even selling Kenyan registration documents to foreigners.

The root of the problem lies in discrimination, particularly against non-indigenous groups, who face systematic barriers to acquiring recognition of their nationality based solely on their race or ethnic background.

This discriminatory practice is not only unjust but also unconstitutional and goes against the principles of equality and fairness.

The introduction of a digital system is a positive step forward, as it has the potential to streamline the citizenship process and ensure greater transparency and accountability.

However, it is essential to ensure that this new system is not susceptible to the same corruption and abuse that plagued the previous one.

It is therefore critical that the new guidelines issued by the department of Immigration and Citizen Services, which rely heavily on chiefs and their assistants, are reinforced with mechanisms to prevent corruption and ensure that all deserving citizens have equal and unhindered access to national identification documents.

This includes proper oversight measures, providing adequate training to officials and establishing clear protocols to prevent discriminatory practices.

In the end we must all accept this fact, that it is better to admit 100 foreigners into Kenya than deny one Kenyan his right to citizenship.

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