The agony a Kenyan parent goes through to acquire a birth certificate for a child is not acceptable in this day and age. While technology should make life easier, some rogue government officers have perfected a money-minting venture at the expense of the very taxpayers they are supposed to serve. After a notification of birth, the parent is required to visit the local birth registry to apply for the birth certificate and make another visit to pick the document.
In the offices, it is not uncommon to be tossed from one corner to the other. In some offices rude, bored and unwelcoming officers will add pain to your experience. Even then, in some registries, the birth or death certificates are placed outside the offices in cartons from which those who have applied have to sift through manually. Problem is that in passing through many hands, some certificates have been defaced and there is no confirmation on who picks the certificate, which could lead to another problem of lost documents.
We therefore laud Interior CS Fred Matiang’i for his latest efforts to streamline services at the registries. Kenyans should enjoy improved services from those entrusted with offering the same. For some weeks, the CS has been consistent to ensure that Kenyans are served at birth and death registries, which is a great move showing that indeed the cries of Kenyans have reached the ears of their leaders. Since he cannot be in every office all the time, we urge the minister to nevertheless make the issuance of birth certificates easy but fool-proof.
The government should find a workable formula whereby a child is born, a notification is given followed by a birth certificate, without having to go through the rigours of lining up in offices where corruption thrives thus inconveniencing already struggling Kenyans. This will help in reducing the backlog which the CS stated is at times man-made to create corruption avenues. How about digitising the process in a way that the public can be notified of certificates that are ready through their mobile phones?