Mandera suspends ID issuance over corruption claims

Mandera County Commissioner Onesmus Kyatha during Madaraka Day celebrations on December 12, 2019. PHOTO | MANASE OTSIALO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

What you need to know:

  • Speaking during the 56th Jamhuri Day celebrations on Thursday, Mr Kyatha accused divisional vetting committees of engaging in corruption and lack of patriotism.
  • Mr Kyatha said it was shocking for a government officer to demand a bribe from a student seeking a national identity card.
  • Arabia MCA Abdiaziz Dakat Maalim termed the county commissioner’s comments as a government tactic to deny Mandera residents their rights.

Mandera officials are to blame for suspension of ID issuance, a step that has left thousands of youths without the document, County Commissioner Onesmus Kyatha has said.

Speaking during the 56th Jamhuri Day celebrations on Thursday, Mr Kyatha accused divisional vetting committees of engaging in corruption and lack of patriotism.

“I have received so many complaints about the process. We stopped it because of corruption,” he said.

BRIBERY

Mr Kyatha said it was shocking for a government officer to demand a bribe from a student seeking a national identity card.

“How can one ask a student to pay him for a government service that is free of charge. These officials have been collecting between Sh500 and Sh3,000 from any youth seeking the ID,” he said.

The commissioner said the service will only resume once the cartels are dealt with.

“We have people working overnight to benefit from this process, including by sneaking in foreigners to be issued with government documents, but that will end,” he said.

He warned that should the corruption continue, the county's security committee will look into issuing IDs at schools.

“We will seek records from schools and issue the IDs to students as per those records and forget about anyone else,” he said.

COMMITTEES

Committees tasked with issuing IDs in Mandera are chaired by assistant deputy county commissioners.

Members include chiefs, their assistants, religious leaders, at least one clan elder and an officer from the National Intelligence Service (NIS).

Chiefs and their assistants have been flagged several times on allegations of manipulating the process.

“I know government officers involved in the process are engaging in corruption but we have plans on how to deal with them,” he said.

Areas most affected by the suspension include Khalalio, Arabia and Township in Mandera East and Elwak in Mandera South.

Regarding the 2022 general election, Mr Kyatha warned local politicians eyeing seats against funding people's migration and settlement in their areas of interest.

“Don’t engage in moving people from one point to another or sneaking in foreigners to settle for political gain,” he said.

QUESTIONS

Arabia MCA Abdiaziz Dakat Maalim termed the county commissioner’s comments as a government tactic to deny Mandera residents their rights.

He said some of those lacking IDs in the area are married couples and students of Arabia Boys' and Arabia Girls' secondary schools.

“There has been no issuance of IDs in Arabia for the past seven years and that cannot be about corruption. How long will the process take with the alleged corruption?”

“There are thousands of people without IDs in Arabia and that has denied them employment opportunities and made them victims of the war against terrorism."

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