Kenya: State Law Office Digitizes Marriage Registration Services in Virus Containment Efforts

Nairobi — Couples seeking to tie the knot at Sheria House in Nairobi will no longer have to make numerous visits to seek marriage registration services after the Office of the Attorney General on Friday unveiled a digital platform.

State Law office Chief Administrative Secretary Winnie Guchu said the new e-registration platform will enable both Kenyan and foreign nationals to initiate and complete the process of registration of marriage services online, thus eliminating the need for couples to make multiple visits to the Marriage registry.

Guchu said couples will only visit the registrar's office on the final day after all other processes have been concluded online, a move she said is aimed at reducing human traffic and support efforts to combat the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Before COVID-19, the Registry was serving an average of 600 clients daily and the services were being offered manually. With the pandemic, the Registry had to devise ways of offering marriage services in compliance with Ministry of Health guidelines," she said.

With the new system, the couples will be required to log in to oag.ecitizen.go.ke; here they will fill registration forms upon which they will be notified within a period of 21 days.

After uploading their documents, the couple will be required to make payments online , Registry announcing an end to cash transactions.

Once the 21-day period lapses, the couple will be notified online and an appointment date for visiting the Registrar will be scheduled for them.

CAS Guchu said couples must wear masks and sanitize.

On the marriage day, she said, the couple will only be accompanied by two witnesses. The registrar will officiate the ceremony within 20 minutes.

"On the appointment day the couple should arrive 15 minutes earlier and if you don't honor your appointment, you will have to rebook online for a new date because we are avoiding congestion," she said.

The marriage registry said the services, which are currently limited to Nairobi residents where the demand is very high, will be decentralized to other regions in August.

Salome Wilson, a Nairobi resident who spoke to Capital FM News after obtaining the marriage certificate at the Registry, said the newly adopted system is fast and efficient.

"So long as you have all the required documents it's easy to upload after which you wait for an appointment at the Registry," she said.

The Attorney General's office on May 20 suspended marriage services due to high client numbers, in compliance with Ministry of Health's guidelines of social distancing. The Registry reported about 2,551 marriages were put on hold at the time.

Since the first COVID-19 case was reported in the country in March, most couples have opted to conduct weddings with only family members and close friends, with others resorting to tie the knot at Sheria House hence the surge in number of clients.

Attendance in wedding ceremonies is limited to only 15 people, with existing virus containment protocols limiting wedding services to 45 minutes.

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