By Mkarimu Media
A number of Kenyans living in South and Central America have raised concerns over inconveniences of traveling long distances to embassies in order to access government services.
Kenyans who spoke to Mkarimu Media feel the government has abandoned them by setting impractical options that they are unable to meat with the recent being the controversial huduma namba registration that saw majority of them being left out and the ongoing e-passport registration.
Francis Kamau, a Kenyan diaspora representative in Mexico says there are only three missions serving in South and Central America posing a challenge to many to travel miles which is costly.
“We have an embassy in Brazil serving the whole South America, in Cuba for Caribbean countries and in Washington for Mexico and Central American countries,” he points out.
“The mission in Brazil went to all South Americans countries up to Panama for huduma namba biometrics,” he added.
They expressed their disappointments to the High Commission in Washington for employing few staff and failing to put the process in order to ease service delivery.
“We, the people in Mexico and rest of Central America, no one came as we tried calling representatives in Washington. At first, we were assured someone will be sent but later on they failed even to respond to calls and emails,” Mr.Kamau explained.
“I’ve been pushing for answers from Washington, ministry of interior, DP office, ministry of foreign affairs and mission in Havana but nobody responded.”
According to Mr. Kamau all the options offered by the government are impractical to them as most have an annual leave of only 6 to 10 days.
He said that if the current options set by the government remains then people like him will not travel to work. This will lead to loss of work and hence you become a refugee.
“Renewing residency is another problem either way the invalidation of our current passport without providing the e-passport will result to loss of work,” he said.
For them, to acquire e-passport the only option is to go to Washington but 99% don’t have a valid USA visa. The return ticket to Washington is about $1500-$2000 USD.
The other option is to travel back to Kenya which requires at least 4 days and an additional 10 days for e-passport processing.
They are now pleading with the government and the mission in Washington DC to act and help them acquire the e-passport before the September 1 deadline.
The application process for an e-passport requires the applicant to visit the embassy in person for biometrics capture.
The deadline for the e-passports is September 1, 2019.
Since the government rolled out the issuance of the new generation passports, it has been marked by complaints.
Early last month, President Kenyatta directed embassies and high commissions to fasten the process of issuing new passports to Kenyans in Diaspora.