Kenya: Wajir lawmakers issue ultimatum over IDs ban
NAIROBI, Kenya – Wajir North Member of Parliament, Ibrahim Saley has given the Wajir County Commissioner a two-week ultimatum to overturn a decree stopping the issuance of identity cards to Wajir residents most of whom are Kenyans of Somali origin.
During a press conference in the company of Balambala Member of Parliament AbdiKadir Adan, Saley accused the County Commissioner for slapping an embargo on the registration of the residents, saying the decision had curtailed their rights as enshrined in the Constitution and that the only way out was through the courts.
“If registration of persons doesn’t start in Wajir North constituency in the coming two weeks, I will institute court proceedings against the County Commissioner for Wajir for violating the rights of my constituents. He is the one who has placed the embargo; the county security committee has no legal basis.”
The two legislators went on to allege that some of their constituents had waited for years, for instance some from Balambala had waited eight years while those in Wajir had waited for three years for IDs.
“In my view, this is totally unacceptable in modern day Kenya. Those are people who were denied rights yao ya kupiga kura katika election zilizopita – kwa hivyo, yetu leo ni kutuma ujumbe kwa serikali, tukiwaambia kwamba mambo ya blanket condemnation ya community ya Kisomali ni mabo amabyo ni dhuluma.” (These are the residents who were denied their rights to vote in past elections, so we are sending a message to the government to cease blanket condemnation of the Somali Community), retorted the Balambala MP.
While appealing to the Ministry of Interior and National Coordination to come to the aid of the residents, the leaders lamented over the manner in which Kenyans of Somali origin have been treated particularly when there is a lapse in security.
They pointed out that lack of proper registration documents (which they are now lobbying for) had made them an easier target whenever the country faced attacks which are mostly attributed to the terror group Al Shabaab.
The leaders also claimed that residents have been forced to bribe the officials involved in the issuance of ID cards adding that the cards are now being used as a marginalization tool.