Mr Baya said some Kenyans are forced to masquerade as refugees so as to get food rations and some money; benefits only accorded to the refugees. On this, Ms Sofia said that it happens as the residents run away from the biting drought that hits the area every year.
Mr Baya replied: “Those Kenyans who are sure they are Kenyans and that their applications have been rejected will be assisted.” He denied the existence of a policy skewed towards the Somalis saying all border districts faced the same vetting exercise.
However, the chairman of Parliament’s Committee on security, Mr Fred Kapondi (Mt Elgon, ODM) and Dr Khalwale accused the minister of misleading the House on the matter.
Mr Kapondi said that refugees were getting IDs due to corrupt officials, yet genuine Kenyans were denied their cards. He gave an example of the Daadab camp.
On Tuesday, Parliament heard that the Ministry had a countrywide shortage of 500 senior registration officials.
But even with this shortage of personnel, Mr Baya said the Ministry delivered according to the service charter, which stipulates that the people in arid and semiarid lands have to get their national identity cards within 38 days after sending in their application. The assistant minister made the remarks after Samburu East MP Raphael Letimalo (ODM) sought to know why the posts of District Registrar of Persons and the District Civil Registrar were still vacant. The MP complained that the application process was “slow” and that there was a very high number of rejected applications. He asked the assistant minister to consider decentralising the services from Nairobi.
However, Mr Baya remained firm that the rejected applications arose if fingerprints could not be read and if the photos could not be processed on the machines at headquarters. “The processing system is so complex that it needs to be centralised for cost-effectiveness. The specialised equipment used also means that it will be expensive to decentralise because of the security and personnel cost associated with the machines,” said Mr Baya.