- Interior CAS Hussein Dado said those registered have been successfully vetted and will undergo other stringent procedures before they are issued with IDs.
- Kenyans registered themselves as refugees because of better opportunities offered by the UN refugee agency.
The process of delisting at least 14,000 Kenyans in Garissa county who registered themselves as refugees is on course, the government has said.
They will be removed from the United Nations High Commission for Refugees database.
Addressing leaders and government officials in Garissa on Saturday, Interior CAS Hussein Dado said those registered have been successfully vetted and will undergo other stringent procedures before they are issued with IDs.
The vetting was launched in November last year with the government promising that genuine Kenyans who registered as refugees would be issued with ID cards by March.
UNHCR is funding the programme that will see all genuine Kenyans removed the refugees database.
The process was, however, temporarily halted following the outbreak of Covid-19.
Dado said Kenyans registered themselves as refugees because of better opportunities offered by the UN refugee agency then.
“The vetting itself was stringent and involved elders, chiefs, the military and intelligence. We have no doubt that those vetted are genuine Kenyans,” Dado said.
Thousands of residents found themselves in trouble after they were captured in UNHCR database and couldn’t get ID cards. They were at risk of being declared stateless after the UN started closing down the vast Dadaab refugee camps.
The five camps were home to more than 600,000 refugees, majority of them from Somalia but the number has drastically come down following voluntary repatriation of the refugees to their home countries. It is estimated that the number could less than 300,000.
Leaders who attended the function termed the move as a milestone and a part of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s in North Eastern.
The leaders said the decision to remove Kenyans from the UNHCR database was long overdue.
“Every household in this region has someone who has his data captured by UNHCR. So many people especially the youth have suffered a lot. They cannot secure employment and their right of movement is curtailed,” Dadaab MP Mohamed Dahiye said.
Ijara Member of Parliament Sophia Abdinoor asked the government to conduct another round of vetting to consider those who missed the opportunity.
“This is a milestone for the affected persons as they can now access government services and be productive members of the society. We thank the national government for its swift action in providing a solution to what had become a big problem to our people,” he said.
The function was attended by other leaders among them Garissa Deputy Governor Abdi Dagane, MPs Mohamed Hire (Lagdera) and Mohamed Sheikh Omar (Wajir South).
Other senior Government officials present included the director of operations at National Registration Bureau Ruben Kimotho, Commissioner for Refugee Affairs Kodeck Makori and other senior UNHCR officials.
Edited by Henry Makori