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Old generation passports to be phased out in September

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Kenyan immigration department will phase out old generation passports in September this year.

Interior and National Coordination Cabinet Secretary Dr Fred Matiang’i said though the state rolled out electronic passports two years ago 1.5 million Kenyans were still holding old generation passports.

Speaking when he launched the Central Rift e-passports registration Centre in Nakuru the Cabinet Secretary observed that 1 million Kenyans had transitioned from the old document to the electronic one.

The e-passport will have an electronic chip holdiNewng the same information as the old version, alongside a biometric identifier, digital photograph of the holder and security features to prevent unauthorized use and forgery.

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The move is part of the government’s switching shift to e-services to improve efficiency and reduce security loopholes.

For instance, since 2015, all foreigners visiting Kenya were required to apply for visas online through e-visa system.

To facilitate uptake of e-passports by Kenyans the government has also set up new registration centers in Eldoret, Embu and Kisii to complement the already established units in Nairobi, Kisumu and Mombasa.

The event in Nakuru coincided with the launch of an e-passports registration center in Pretoria at the Kenya’s mission in South Africa.

Dr Matiang’i who was accompanied by County governor Lee Kinyanjui, Nakuru Town West MPs Samuel Arama and his Nakuru Town East counterpart David Gikaria announced that similar e- passport registration centres had been set up in Washington DC, Los Angeles, London, Paris and United Arab Emirates.

The Cabinet Secretary put on notice foreigners who were undertaking jobs in the country without work permits or engaging in menial jobs that can be done by locals.

He warned Kenyans against resorting to violence and lawlessness when dealing with foreigners engaging in jobs available for locals. Dr Matiang’i appealed to Kenyans to report such cases to law enforcement officers.

The cabinet secretary stressed that the government would adhere to strict guidelines while issuing work permits to foreigners adding that the country had a large pool of skilled laborers who could do specialized jobs.

The new document bears the words ‘East African Community’ as well as ‘Kenya’ in line with the drive for regional integration.

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The A series, B series, C series and diplomatic passports will cost Sh4,550, Sh6,050, Sh7,550 and Sh7,550, respectively and payments will be made via mobile phone or credit cards.

The requirements include;

The roll out is expected to cost the government Sh500 million and is being facilitated by a technology installed by the Pakistani Government.

The new machines will now print 2,000 new passports daily up from the 800 and it will take new applicants eight days to get the documents and three days for those renewing.

The CS says Kenya has fully complied with standards and guidelines set by International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and EAC Chief of immigration on travel document design, processing and issuance.

He said the new document is highly secure and difficult to forge as it is enhanced with automated fingerprint verification system that guards against multiple passport issuances to the same person minimizing identity theft, data skimming and forgery.

Matiang’i said the e-passport will assist Kenyans in easing travel, especially through use of automated border clearances or e-gates, automated issuance of the boarding passes and faster travel arrangements with airlines and immigration checks worldwide.

He notes that the deployment of the e-passport system will definitely strengthen the integrity and restore international confidence and rating of Kenyan passports.





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Kenya hailed for success in Africa Continental Free Trade Area

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The Commissioner for Agriculture at the African Union Commission Josefa Sacko has hailed Kenya for her initiative in realizing the establishment of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCTA).

“Africa and the world will always remember that Kenya was the first country to ratify the AfCFTA treaty,” said Sacko and added, “There is thus no better place to fast track the implementation of the 5th commitment of the Malabo Declaration which is about tripling intra-African trade in Agricultureby 2025 other than Nairobi, Kenya.”

Speaking at the 15th CAADP Partnership Platform with the theme “Enhancing Trade and Market Access for Accelerated Agriculture Transformation,” Sacko called on African states to take advantage of the AfCFTA and trade in agricultural commodities produced on the African continent.

The Commissioner noted that the signing and ratification of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) provides an opportunity to accelerate growth and sustainable investment by increasing investment and trade, especially trade in agricultural commodities.

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“We all need to work hand in hand to agree on the road map and key policy actions that will position the agriculture sector to take full advantage of the single African market of 1.3 billion people and a cumulative GDP over $3.4 trillion,” she said and added, “The leadership of the AUC under the new reform is working to seriously address the good functioning of the AUC. We need to take control of our destiny and stop blaming others, we need to work and work hard and to reduce our talk.”

While urging for intra-Africa trade to take advantage of the AfCFTA, Sacko noted that this will help to provide much needed market for commodities produced on the continent.

The Commissioner appealed to member states to relook at how to operationalize the National Agriculture Investment Plans (NAIPs) so as to increase budgetary allocation to agriculture as envisaged in the Maputo declaration on agriculture and food security of 2003 that called for the allocation of 10% of GDP to agriculture.

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Sacko said members states are lagging behind on the Malabo Declaration on Accelerated Agricultural Growth and Transformation for Shared Prosperity and Improved Livelihoods of 2014.

Speaking at the 15th Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program Partnership Platform (CAADP PP) held in Nairobi, Sacko said the trade data over the period 2012-2016 indicates that Africa’s annual food import bill averaged $35 billion, “and it is estimated to rise to $110 billion by 2025.”

She said it is worrying that the increase in agricultural and food imports has been on basic foodstuffs, dairy products, meat and meat products, sugar and cereals.

“According to the FAO-OECD report on Agricultural Output, the demand for food is expected to grow at more than 3% per annum, while agricultural production is projected to rise by 2.6% a year which means that Africa’s net import of food commodities is expected to grow,” she warned.

She however noted that inter-African trade is being hampered by little progress in the development of agro-industries and agri-business capacities that impede value addition and competitiveness.

She urged for the need to create a policy environment for boosting regional trade in agriculture commodities “by increasing local processing of key agriculture products and their respective value chains.”

Others will include; promoting and facilitating increased consumption of locally and regionally produced agriculture commodities; achieving self-sufficiency and the lowest possible importation of key agriculture commodities in Africa; stimulating local and regional private sector investments in agriculture by setting a conducive business environment that attracts both domestic and foreign investments in the agriculture sector.

 

 

 





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Kenya Women Teachers Association receives support from MP

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Laikipia North Member of Parliament Sarah Korere has urged the Kenya National Union of Teachers to allow women teachers to have their association.

Korere says the association will play a huge role in championing for women rights as well as give young women leaders a platform for growth.

She noted that time is gone when women were gagged and discriminated saying they should allowed to liberate themselves by fronting their rights in the best way possible.

Korere noted that this is not the only profession where women will have their own organization giving the likes of the Kenya Women Parliamentarians, The Association of Women in Media among others as entities where women have come out to represent themselves.

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Speaking at Uaso Nyiro Primary school in her constituency where she opened three classrooms funded by 410 Bridge International in Partnership with the Schools Infrastructure Grant, the MP noted that female teachers were undergoing tough times especially those who are breastfeeding, as they are forced to leave their children at home and are expected to concentrate in school for eight hours.

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She said KNUT has failed to champion for such rights which the union regards as small but mean a lot to the women.

The MP condemned the recent attack on Wajir Woman representative Fatuma Gedi by Wajir East Mp Rashid Kassim saying the MP should face the full wrath of the law.

She called on parents to be in the front line in championing for girls rights saying they must ensure their girls are in school instead of marrying them off at a tender age.

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We will support Kalonzo in 2022, Ukambani MPs declare

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16 Members of Parliament have endorsed Wiper party leader Kalonzo Musyoka as their preferred candidate to succeed President Uhuru Kenyatta in 2022.

The MPs have also stated that Kalonzo remains the undisputed leader of the Kamba saying they will mobilize the community to support his 2022 bid to the last man.

Speaking during a thanksgiving ceremony for Kathiani MP Robert Mbui the MPs together with County Assembly leaders from Kitui, Makueni and Machakos, said those against Kalonzo’s candidature will be in for a rude shock.

They hit out at Makueni Governor Prof. Kivutha Kibwana who has in the recent past implored on Kalonzo to retire from politics accusing him of trying to divide the Kamba community.

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Mbui stressed on the need to remain united saying all politicians from the region must read from the same script.

Kitui Central MP Makali Mulu said Kalonzo has a nationwide appeal and urged ODM leader Raila Odinga to support Kalonzo in 2022 for supporting him in 2013 and 2017.

Mwingi West MP Charles Nguna said as elected leaders from the Kamba community, they will traverse the Country to popularize Kalonzo’s presidential 2022 bid sentiments echoed by Kaiti MP Joshua Kimilu.

The MPs said they will seek partnerships with like-minded politicians from other regions singling out Baringo Senator and KANU Chairman Gideon Moi as one of the leaders they want to work with.

Tiaty MP William Kamket relayed greeting from Gideon saying the KANU Chairman is willing to work with Kalonzo ahead of 2022.

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The MPs expressed support for the handshake saying it has helped solve political differences. They also expressed their support towards the fight against graft but called on prosecution of those misusing public funds.

Kalonzo said he is ready to succeed President Uhuru Kenyatta even as he told Kenyans to brace for a referendum as it is likely to be a key proposal by the Building Bridges Initiative.

He said he fully supports the President in his war against corruption and called on Kenyans not to relent in fighting the vice.

He however reiterated that Kenyans were eager to see action taken against the corrupt. “I am waiting to hear that big people have been convicted if we are to win the war against corruption, we must invent a different approach.”

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