President Uhuru Kenyatta’s directive to government agencies to ensure that Kenyans in the diaspora get their new-generation passports in their countries of residence has elicited mixed reactions.

Addressing Kenyans in Windhoek, Namibia, on Thursday evening, President Kenyatta directed relevant government agencies to develop mechanisms of ensuring that Kenyans get the passports in their countries of residence.

The President said that there was no reason Kenyans living outside the country should incur huge financial costs to travel back home to acquire the new passports.

“Form a team that will go from country to country to register Kenyans in the diaspora. No Kenyan should be forced to spend money to travel to Kenya to get passports,” he said.

“I haven’t attempted to change my passport abroad. It would, however, be great if this could be done in Dubai. From what I have heard, when Kenyans go to the consulate here they’re directed to do it in Kenya as it would be quicker. So I haven’t bothered doing it here,” said a Kenyan living in Dubai, who sought anonymity.

“As far as I know, the system is not operational at the Paris embassy, at least the last time I asked which was mid last year. They were all confused and couldn’t give specific details on when the system would be up and running. I gave up,” said Seline Adega from France.

“The incompetence, coupled with the fact that you talk to people who do not seem to master their job scope, is extremely draining. I am not sure I will be renewing the Kenyan passport soon, there is only so much stress I can handle on what is supposed to be a straightforward and transparent process,” she added.

Another Kenyan, who identified himself only as T.A. and is based in Minnesota, US, dismissed the President’s directive outright.

“I’d rather apply for citizenship and use an American passport. The embassy in Washington, DC, is far away and very inefficient and if that’s quotable use my initials.”

“For me particularly, my passport had expired before the 2010 Constitution, and I wasn’t able to renew it at the time because it required that I travel to Kenya to get it renewed. But around 2015, the embassy here allowed us to apply locally and wait for about eight weeks,” complained Mr James Sang’ from Washington DC.

On the ongoing sustained war against graft, President Kenyatta assured Kenyans in the diaspora that the crackdown will continue and that every effort will be made in bringing back integrity to the public service.

He said Kenya has great potential but there was need to change practices that hinder the country from achieving progress adding that corruption is a vice that all Kenyans must unite to fight if the country has to progress.

“If you are corrupt we will fight you. You can be my brother or my sister or my closest political ally but if you are corrupt we will fight you,” said the President.

The President said he won’t be clouded by ethnicity or status in his quest to leave behind a united nation and assured that he will continue championing the unity of the nation as he urged Kenyans to shun tribalism.

Kenya’s High Commissioner to Namibia Benjamin Lang’at said Kenyans living in Namibia are productive and active in supporting the development of both Kenya and their host country.

Source: Daily Nation