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Kenya suspends issuance of passports

By Abuga Makori in Nairobi , Garowe Online

NAIROBI, Kenya - For three days, people seeking Kenyan passports will have to wait until Immigration Department resumes duty, it has emerged.

According to the Directorate of Immigration Services, normal services will resume on Friday, December 27, 2019.

The department did not give concrete reasons for the suspension of services, something that could hurt please plans given the high demand for the passports.

“We regret to announce to the general public that our passport services will be suspended from Tuesday, December 24 at 8 am due to unavoidable circumstances,” the Department said in a statement.

"We shall resume duty on Friday, December 27th. We regret any inconveniences caused to our esteemed customers," the statement further read.

The department further added that, during that period, the system will undergo unscheduled maintenance for the improvement of services.

Other than the capital Nairobi, Kenya issues passports in Eldoret, Kisii, Nakuru, Kisumu and Mombasa cities for close service delivery.

Early this month, President Uhuru Kenyatta also launched the passport issuance office in Garissa town which is in Northern Frontier Districts (NFD).

Uhuru said: "Our people deserve equal opportunities in service delivery. Opening the immigration office in Garissa is something that I really wanted it to happen."

The Garissa office has already started issuance of the passports following the launch by the President, who also commissioned a new army base in the region.

Aden Duale, the Majority Leader of the National Assembly, is among Northeastern Kenya leaders who have been pushing to have an immigration office in the area.

In what could also help Somalis seeking Kenyan passports, President Uhuru Kenyatta had said, the state will commission new offices in Wajir and Mandera before he leaves office in 2022.

Dr. Fred Matiang'i, Kenya's interior minister, on Tuesday said: "the closure of the department is temporary, we shall resume after three days."

Kenya is also working towards digitalizing records at the immigration offices, something which could have led to the temporary closure.