Nairobi — The government on Friday allayed fears that delays in processing Identification Cards (IDs) would lock out some individuals from participating in the forthcoming elections saying there are only 150,000 applications being processed.
The Deputy Director of the National Registration Bureau (NRB) Mumia Kisabuli said the department had cleared its backlog of identity cards but 322,000 processed cards remain uncollected.
He added that the bureau receives 20,000 applications everyday against a capacity of printing 60,000 cards each day and so no qualified Kenyan would miss out on the voter registration process because they lack an identity card.
"As at October 30 a total of 20.08 million Kenyans had been given ID cards including 1.7 million Kenyans who are now deceased so this leaves us with 18.3 million persons who are alive and hold identity cards," he pointed out.
"We believe that this is a good number that can proceed to register as voters as we mop up the rest who do not have the cards but are eligible," he argued.
Despite this assurance, the process of clearing identity cards from areas that fall immediately after Nairobi, for instance Kiambu and Syokimau takes 26 working days while applications from ASAL areas and those that are close to the Kenyan border take 35 days.
However the voter registration exercise, which is scheduled to kick off on November 19, will only last for a month.
"Our field managers have instructions to make sure that what is processed everyday is shipped to our headquarters in Nairobi within two days. Through the courier service that we have contracted for the northern parts of this country, we will be able to get those manuscripts as soon as possible," he argued.
Kisabuli also said that the government was making arrangements for Kenyans living in Baragoi and Tana River regions to get IDs together with other Kenyans who were displaced during the 2008 post-election violence.
He explained that his department was working with the provincial administration to facilitate this.
He at the same time noted that there had been a challenge in issuing cards for individuals living in Wajir South but it had been resolved.
"This is because our officer was kidnapped and up to today we do not know where he is and we have not yet heard the latest position. But we have cleared the accumulation of IDs in this region," he said.
He added that Nairobi had 600 registration offices in 292 districts in the country to facilitate the issuance of identity cards.
Kisabuli had earlier refuted claims that two million Kenyans are holding waiting cards saying such reports were grossly erroneous.
"Any Kenyan who is qualified for an ID should make their applications so that we can embrace them and ensure they play a part in the elections. Whatever that was lying here has already been delivered and shipped to the respective areas," he maintained.
He also maintained that waiting cards were not valid for registering voters saying their use could undermine the credibility of the entire voting process.
"There may be players who may use the waiting cards to boost their numbers which will be fraudulent," he said.
The government has issued 1,061 IDs to Kenyans in the Diaspora.