• In Mombasa, residents are torn between queuing at the congested but quicker Huduma Centre at Posta and going for the slow but less congested registration centres at the grassroots.
• While some wake up as early as 4am to queue, others prefer sleeping at the Huduma Centre.
Coast residents have had to spend nights at registration centres to beat long queues for the Huduma Namba as deadline approaches.
In Mombasa residents are torn between queuing at the congested but quicker Huduma Centre at Posta and going for the slow but less congested registration centres in the outskirts.
When the Star arrived at the Huduma Centre registration point at 9am yesterday, Nathaniel Odongo was almost being served.
He said he had joined the line at 11pm on Thursday.
“When I came here, there were already people in the line. I was the 52nd person to be served,” said Odongo.
Florence Atieno joined the line at 4am on Friday together with her three children.
She was number 316 in the line, hoping to be registered before the day ended.
“I have been trying to get registered in my area but when I go they tell me that the number has already reached maximum which is 50 people. That’s why I have decided to come to Huduma Center,” Atieno said.
Many of those interviewed told the Star said they preferred queuing at Huduma Centre which accommodates more people and is a bit faster to the registration centres in estates.
Soliche Machapi told the Star he had to travel to Rabai to register.
“I prefer using the Sh400 to and from Rabai where my cousin told me there are no queues than queuing for the whole day in Mombasa,” said Machapi.
Many, including Ganze MP Teddy Mwambire, have asked the government to extend the deadline for registration.
“The government cannot issue a deadline for this exercise. It should be extended for even six months because it is making Kenyans not go for work so as to register,” said Mwambire.
The request has already been turned down by Interior CS Fred Matiang’i who said the government cannot extend the deadline due to financial constraints.
Instead, he said Huduma Namba registration centres will remain open for extended hours - 6am to 6pm - to allow more Kenyans to register.
The government said 31 million Kenyans have been captured on NIIMS and the target is 40 million.
In Taita Taveta, authorities have expressed concern that a big number of residents may be locked out of the mass registration.
A spot check by the Star showed long queues in nearly all centres with residents rushing to beat the Friday deadline.
Voi deputy county commissioner Jospeh Mtile said the registration numbers are impressive. The sub-county has registered 75,000 people.
In total, the county has registered at least 270,000 against a target of 390,000 people.
“We are experiencing a huge number of people showing up to register compared to the first weeks. However we are hoping that we shall reach out to everyone before Friday,” Mtile said.
He said registration has been extended to prisons, hospitals and highly populated market centres.
Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims (SUPKEM) deputy secretary general Mohammed Washalla applauded government officials for steering registration campaign.
He said the exercise will help curb insecurity in the country and boost service delivery.
(Edited by O. Owino)