Kenyans eagerly awaiting the issuance of passports are set to face further delays as the government announces yet another breakdown of printing machines at Nyayo House.
This unfortunate occurrence marks the second breakdown within a week, exacerbating the existing backlog of pending passport applications.
In a statement released on Tuesday, the Immigration Department revealed that it is also grappling with a shortage of printing materials, compounding the already dire situation.
The announcement comes amidst growing frustration among Kenyans over the prolonged delays in obtaining passports, with the government's apparent inaction on the matter raising more questions than answers.
Despite the State Department receiving billions of shillings in budgetary allocations each fiscal year, the persistently malfunctioning equipment remains unresolved.
Isaac Ochieng, the department's head of corporate affairs, confirmed last year that a mere Sh150 million is required to procure a new machine, further adding to the perplexing nature of the issue.
At the core of the persistent delays in passport applications lies the problem of faulty printers. Additionally, the unavailability of booklets has been an ongoing challenge.
On Wednesday, Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki addressed the issue, revealing that approximately 42,000 passport applications are yet to be processed.
He pledged to clear the backlog within 21 days, attributing the delay to faulty printing equipment, which he vowed to repair in a week's time.
The Cabinet Secretary further emphasized that moving forward, all applications must be processed within seven days, with priority given to emergency applications for medical and educational purposes, which will be expedited within a day.
However, Kenyans expressed scepticism on social media platforms, casting doubts on whether the declaration would result in any tangible progress. Some individuals even recounted experiencing delays dating back to the previous year.
The faulty printing machine has further dampened the spirits of previously elated Kenyans and confirmed their worst suspicions.
As the government scrambles to rectify the recurring issues with passport printing, hopeful applicants continue to endure extended waiting periods. The need for a swift resolution and an efficient passport issuance process remains a pressing concern for the Kenyan public.