Since independence, Kenyans have been able to apply for a national identity card free of charge. However, in 2023, Kenya’s Kwanza government, the Interior CS Kithure Kindiki, announced new fees for applying for an ID in Kenya.
In the northern part of Kenya, including Turkana, Marsabit, Wajir, Baringo, and Mandera, a significant portion of parents can’t access IDs due to a high illiteracy level in these regions. According to records, more than half of the students remain uncaptured by NEMIS.
“The problem we have right now is that in a school with a student population of 500, only 50 or 70 of them are captured by NEMIS. The remaining number remains out of NEMIS data because their parents lack national IDs,” indicates Tiati MP Kamket.
These regions frequently experience conflicts, discouraging many parents from obtaining IDs—a requirement for acquiring a birth certificate necessary for NEMIS registration. Robin Kibet, a resident in Baringo, notes that many parents lack IDs to access NEMIS for their children. “Many parents don’t have IDs, both mothers and fathers, forcing them to use other colleagues’ IDs to register their children in NEMIS and to obtain a birth certificate.”
Headteachers from these regions report that their funding depends on the number of students captured by NEMIS. This leads to lower funds due to the absence of all students in the NEMIS system, making it difficult to run the school. Additionally, many parents in these regions lack knowledge of the importance of birth certificates.
NEMIS is crucial for maintaining student data and managing resources in schools. People without IDs in the region face challenges, with many elderly individuals unable to access government resources meant for them. The introduction of charges to access essential documents like IDs adds further hardship, especially for those living in poor conditions due to a harsh environment and frequent conflicts.
According to a Gazette notice issued on Tuesday, acquiring a new ID will cost Ksh 300, and the replacement of lost IDs will cost Ksh 1,000, down from the previous Ksh 2,000 gazetted two weeks ago. While the notice mentions a waiver for needy Kenyans during ID applications, the exact charge for the service was not indicated.
Report by JESSE ABISHECK
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