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Just like at home, getting passport for Kenyans abroad is a tough task

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Like many Kenyans living abroad, Justin K Wangila in Tanzania was excited by the announcement in Nairobi in 2017 that the government would start issuing “new generation” passports.

“This was a dream come true because, for a long time, most of us Kenyans living in other countries, especially those in East Africa, had yearned for an East African Community passport … we were in a hurry to apply,” Mr Wangila said in an interview with the Sunday Nation.

Mr Wangila was told the application process started online after one opened an account on the internet portal e-Citizen.

“That is where problems start. I wasn’t applying for a passport for the first time. I was renewing one. But this process makes you start from scratch because, like in my case, they had none of my records,” he said.

ADVICE

He needed several documents, such as his national identity (ID) card number, his personal identification number (PIN) and his parents’ ID numbers.

“I got stuck because I did not have my late father’s ID. In its absence, the process required the number on the death certificate.

“My father died a long time ago and I wasn’t even sure a death certificate had been issued. I was forced to take some days off from work to travel home to try and find my father’s death certificate,” he added.

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Having gone through the process, this is what Mr Wangila wants his diaspora compatriots to bear in mind as they seek new passports:

“All spaces must be filled on the form. Payment is via M-Pesa only. You must be sponsored by a lawyer, pastor/imam or a banker. The sponsor has to provide a copy of their ID.

“And, finally, you have to personally deliver the documents to Immigration Department at Nyayo House, Nairobi, where you’ll find extraordinarily long queues.”

CONVENIENCE

These challenges are not unique to the Kenyan diaspora, those in the country go through them too.

To address this, the Department of Immigration announced early in the week that it would open new digital passport issuance points across the country and abroad to ease congestion at Nyayo House.

Immigration Director-General Alex Muteshi said the centres would be opened in Kisumu, Mombasa, Kisii, Nakuru, Embu and Eldoret, as well as in the US and the United Arab Emirates.

“We are opening new locations in Kisii, Nakuru, Eldoret and Embu and expect the current pressure at Nyayo House to ease,” Mr Muteshi said.

“Those in the diaspora do not need to travel back here as they will be able to acquire passports from our offices in Paris, Berlin, Washington, London, Dubai and Johannesburg in the next two months.”

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“The announcement of this department does not in any way solve the diaspora problem. Passport renewals have been taking four to eight months to be processed, not only in America, but also in most embassies across the world,” said Mr D.K Gitau, founder of Kenyan Parents in US, an organisation that was once contracted by the embassy in Washington DC to help in the issuance of IDs and passports.

COST

Mr Gitau said the embassy in DC told him biometric kits would only be available at two consular centres — Los Angeles and DC.

“If that is the case, it will cost each one a minimum of $750 (Sh75,000) for travel and accommodation, assuming you live in Seattle, Washington or Boston, Massachusetts, and you have to travel to either DC or LA to process a passport,” he said.

Mr Gitau said the embassy has been trying to partner with his organisation to cut that cost.

“Kenyan parents in US organised a successful ID and passport event in Georgia on July 21 and 22, 2018, where more than 250 people were processed. But then some people claimed that the organisation was defrauding them, so the process stopped,” Mr Gitau said.

Ms Bliss Park, a resident of Dallas, Texas, said if the processing centres will remain in DC and LA, it means the consulates will be even more congested.

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“The information on the embassy website is so sketchy. They promise 6-8 weeks. That’s the running joke,” she said.

Ms Felisina Ndwiga, a former officer at the Kenyan embassy in DC, agrees that trying to process a passport in the US is challenging.

Source: Daily Nation, By Chris Wamalwa

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. ISAAC KINUNGI

    February 23, 2019 at 11:12 pm

    I Mr Gitau gave Chris and example of someone living far away from consular centers DC or LA Such states are those in the middle like Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas etc.
    Those living there counting day lost and cost of travel was minimum $750. Its so costly exercise and if one has an American passport, its easier to pay $50 dollars as you will spend less the few times you go to Kenya other than wasting $750. We urge the Government to let the Embassy travel to States and our organization called Kenya Parents in USA can organize and Kenyans will only spend $75 dollars to cater for Embassy travel and accommodation.

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Africa

Invitation to the African Girls Hope Foundation Annual Gala happening this Saturday in Atlanta

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BY BEN KAROMO

African Girls Hope Foundation (AGHF) annual Gala is happening this Saturday at the Kenyan American Community Church in Marietta, Georgia, USA. AGHF  is a non-profit founded by Grace Faraja, a former refugee from the 1990s civil war that ravaged the DRC. She started the foundation to help educate girls in rural Congo caught in the ongoing civil unrest, poverty and disease.

As a former beneficiary of a full scholarship that changed her life, Grace believes providing an education to orphaned and less privileged girls can open a world of opportunities to them and help then end the cycle of poverty and early marriages.

This year, AGHF’s aim is to provide full-year scholarships to 120 girls at a cost of $29 per month per girl. We are seeking your help to raise funds to meet the overall goal of $34,000 for the year 2019-2020.

We ask you to help us meet this goal by donating on our website at https://africangirlshopefoundation.com/.

We prayerfully desire to support the education of 120 girls in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Kenya. With hope that God will open doors to other African countries in the near future. We have partnered with a local pastor running a school in the village of Mulenge in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

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Our partner has identified numerous girls in the village who are orphans of father and mother. Girls selected as AGHF beneficiaries are 65% of orphans of both parents.

Atlanta residents, please join us for our Annual Fundraising Gala dinner, to be held on November 9th at the Kenyan American Community Church KICC in Marietta, Georgia. Dinner and parking will be provided.

Below are some of the girls who need our help:

 

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Africa

Kenya’s Filthy Rich and Politically Connected running Govt Agencies

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Kenya has become the butt of jokes (no pun intended!) as the country wastes away due to corruption overseen by those in the highest office in the land.

Despite the billions being wasted daily repaying loans that have benefited a few individuals, Kenyans, on the other hand, are languishing as those entrusted with making their lives better continue looting. The country has become a gangsters’ paradise.

Wambui Kibaki and Her Millions

The first agency that was established by an act of parliament to empower youth is the National Employment Authority which has become a fresh wound for job seekers who never seem to meet the criteria for securing a government job.

On Tuesday, Kenyans were up in arms after it became public that President Uhuru Kenyatta had appointed President Kibaki’s wife, Mary Wambui, as the Authority’s Chairperson.

For a term of three years, Wambui is expected to ensure that jobless Kenyans get opportunities and jobs that can alleviate their suffering.

Ironically, Wambui, a conservative and controversial millionaire does not need the job in the sense that she already has more than enough. But why would she take such a position? That is for the appointee and the appointing authority to explain to Kenyans.

 

 

Most other authorities are led by people whose only merit is being politically connected.

These include the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) whose leadership comprises of Eng Joseph Nakodony Nkadayo as the Chairman with Captain Gilbert Macharia Kibe as the Director-General. Nkadayo succeeded a political reject, Samuel Poghisio, who left the entity in 2017 after serving for 2 years.

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The other is Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) whose disappointing performance could only go to show the incompetence of those appointed.

Interestingly, the former long-serving head of civil service Francis Muthaura is the chairman of the tax collector. He was appointed for the position last year.

The Sacco Societies Regulatory Authority (SASRA) non-executive chairman is John Mati Munuve.

An interesting political reject serving on the SASRA board is former North Imenti MP Silas Muriuki Ruteere.

Muriuki is a teacher by profession with specialized training in Special Education.

Tana and Athi River Development Authority (TARDA) is chaired by Halima Abdillahi Shaiya who was fired from the Kenya Meat Commission in 2014.

A suspension letter presented in court showed that the KMC board was fired for breaching procurement rules, poor performance and failing to implement directors’ resolutions.

The Retirement Benefits Authority (RBA) is chaired by a relative to President Uhuru Kenyatta Victor R. Pratt. Pratt is the husband to Christine Wambui Kenyatta, now Kristina Pratt, who is Uhuru’s older sister.

A politician on the board of directors going by the information on the Authority’s website is politician Sammy Koech who is the MP for Konoin.

The National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) is chaired by Lt Gen (Rtd) Jackson Ndungu Waweru. He was appointed in 2016.

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Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA) is chaired by Eng Erastus Mwongera whose appointment was challenged in court. In the petition by Peter Tana, Mwongera’s appointment was in gross violation of the rule of law.

Tana said that is not suitable to serve in the capacity since he had already served two terms. The tenure at KeNHA is to end in March 2021.

Mwongera cannot discharge any official duties as KeNHA Chairperson until the hearing and determination of the petition.

The National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) is chaired by John Konchellah but the interesting twist is the political connections in the authority’s op management.

Rejects serving at NEMA include Agostinho Neto who was the Ndhiwa MP in a by-election in 2012 and re-elected in 2013.

The immediate former Tana River woman representative Halima Ware Duri also serves as a board member.

In March this year, the Kerio Valley Development Authority (KVDA) board appointments caused an uproar since the maximum number of 10 appointees was surpassed by 3 members.

The board is chaired by former MP Jackson Kiptanui.

And the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) is chaired by another political appointee Retired Joseph R.E Kibwana.

Kibwana, who was the first Navy officer to occupy the office of the Chief of General Staff, oversaw the transition of power from President Daniel Moi to President Mwai Kibaki after the 2002 election.

The General has a chequered career having been among the first of 10 African officers and servicemen recruited to the Navy in 1964.

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The Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) is chaired by Isaac Awuondo.

In August, KAA announced the departure of its Managing Director/CEO Jonny Andersen, effective September 30, 2019.

“Jonny has been with the KAA since November 2016 opted not to renew his contract which was due to expire on November 21st 2019,” said a statement from the Authority.

James P.M. Ndegwa is the Chairman of the Capital Markets Authority (CMA). Coming from among Kenya’s wealthiest families, his seat at the table is reserved.

Interestingly, Muthaura’s son Paul Murithi is the CEO. He was appointed on April 22, 2016 with the call backdated to January 2, 2016.

He is expected to leave CMA at the end of this year after serving for seven-and-a-half years.

Out of the 14 Authorities in Kenya, most of them have politicians who have lost in elections appointed as board members or chairs.

In a country where a majority of the youth are wasting away despite their academic qualifications, consecutive governments have consistently sidelined the youth in favour of the politically connected.

Only President Kibaki gave the youths a considerate treatment when he opened the system for youth self-employment. Kibaki’s time saw the country register the highest number of the motorbike industry jobs.

It is at this time that boda bodas became part and parcel of the Kenyan society.

-businesstoday.co.ke

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Africa

Remains of victims of Ethiopian Airlines crash flown home

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The remains of thirty-two Kenyans who perished in the tragic Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 plane crash on March 10, 2019, have been flown to Nairobi today.

An Ethiopian Airline plane carrying the fragments of the deceased landed at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport on Monday morning.

The remains arrived in specialised caskets and a brief function was held after arrival. Only close family members are to be given the caskets bearing the fragments.

The bodies were severely damaged beyond recognition prompting Ethiopian Airlines to consider DNA analysis to identify their remains.The 32 victims are among 157 people who were killed in the plane crash at Bishoftu town, shortly after taking off to Nairobi.

It is after the International Police through its Incident Response Team revealed on September 12, 2019, that it had successfully identified the 157 passengers who boarded the plane.The team declared the exercise a success saying “six months on after the plane crash, every single victim has been successfully identified.”

Family members of the victims of the Ethiopian Plane crash that killed 157 people from different nationalities visited the crash site to give their last respect and prayers to their departed one at Tulu Fera in Ejera. [ Maxwell Agwanda, Standard]

“The INTERPOL Incident Response Team (IRT) deployed following the crash of the Ethiopian Airlines plane in March has completed its task, assisting with the successful identification of all victims of the deadly disaster,” the Interpol noted on its website.It noted that the identification exercise was prompted by a request from the airlines’ company.

READ ALSO:   SAD: Kenyan woman passes away in Atlanta, GA

It stated: “At the request of the Ethiopian authorities, two days after the accident INTERPOL sent an IRT to assist with the operation. The team’s role was to coordinate the international police disaster victim identification (DVI) response and coordinating the antemortem data supplied by member countries.

”Interpol further revealed that the process was aided by a team of 100 DVI experts drawn from 14 countries in Africa, Europe and America. The exercise took 50 days.

Fingerprints and DNA samples were extracted from 48 people, Interpol noted.Also in September, the US-based Boeing planes manufacturer had announced that it had set aside USD2 billion as Financial Assistance Fund for assisting families of victims of the plane crash, which involves the Ethiopian Airlines crash.

The Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 nosedived just six minutes after leaving Bole International Airport to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport killing all on board.In the incident, Kenya was the worst-hit country losing 32 victims in the crash.

By Standard

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