Birth certificates a right, no bribes required

Cartels in public offices must be weeded out

In Summary

• Kenyans are denied or frustrated in getting key documents unless they bribe.

• Corruption whether big or small bleeds the country and affects services. 

Department of Registration of births in Kisumu.
CARTELS: Department of Registration of births in Kisumu.
Image: FILE

Last Friday, a cartel at the birth registration centre in Nairobi was busted and  24 officers working there arrested.

It is said the officers have devised ways to delay or outright deny birth certificates to genuine applicants.

Interior CS Fred Matiang'i and his PS Karanja Kibicho have had the bureau on their radar after they received complaints.


The corruption at the birth certificate office is a replica of the scenario witnessed in pursuit of title deeds, passports, identity cards, driving licences, business permits, vehicle inspection stickers and several other documents that should be readily availed to genuine applicants.

It is not only high-level corruption that makes Kenya bleed. 

Also culpable for the rot are the policeman who takes Sh50 to clear an overloaded matatu, the Immigration officer who gives a foreigner a passport because she can pay but denies one to a poor Kenyan, the lands office clerk who processes a fake title to disinherit a widow and the teacher who leaks exams.

It should not take Matiang'i and Kibicho to clean up. Those in positions of responsibility must either shape up or ship out. 

Service in public offices is not a favour but a right so long as one is eligible.