Somalia set to introduce National ID cards after over three decades


MOGADISHU, Somalia - For the first time in three decades, Somalia is set to start rolling out the issuance of National Identification cards, as the country rolls out massive registration in what would allow authorities to easily identify citizens and masqueraders in a strategy set to clean civil registration.

The country's civil registry collapsed in 1991 after the ouster of Siad Barre, leading to disorder and confusion which has systematically degenerated into chronic instability, affecting economic growth in the process. The country has suffered internal problems with the identification of persons being the elephant in the room.

As a strategy to cure these problems, Senate has passed legislation that gives guidelines on civil registration in the country, which would end the state of uncertainty. The Bill will become law once signed by President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, who has insisted on the need to bring order to the country.

During voting on Saturday, the 54-member chamber endorsed the Bill following its earlier passage by the Lower House on March 1. Security has been a major concern for the people of Somalia and the lack of a national identity program, parliament says, is the main reason behind lapses that are frequently detected.

Interior Minister Ahmed Fiqi hailed the passage of the Bill noting it was crucial in ensuring Somalis now acquire IDs. He added the law will also resolve the challenge of identity, security, financial transactions, and business registration among other areas which require identification.

With the lack of basic identification processes, terror groups have often seized the opportunity to escalate attacks in the country since it is so difficult to identify offenders. Al-Shabaab militants have been on the frontline impersonating security officers while launching attackers across the country.

Fiqi believes that the registration of all Somalis will reduce cases of insecurity which have been steadily increasing over years. The government of President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud had also pledged to rectify the system failure which it attributes to laxity in departments which are mandated to come up with stringent policy guidelines.


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