Thursday, July 19, 2007

Kenya after 40 years of independence

More than 40 years after independence, the process of getting a birth certificate has not changed. One goes to Sheria house (government offices where birth certificates are processed) and fills a form, and then you are asked to take to City Hall (city council offices) for Birth search. At City Hall you pay Kshs.100 and told to come back after a month. Surprisingly, even after seeing a copy of birth notification and application form for new birth, the city cashier records the birth in the Death search register. When you go after one month you are told they have not completed the search and tell you come back after a few days. Nothing specific.

When one is not self-employed it is not easy to take offs to check on the certificate. So one day I decided to call and asked for birth search department, I was transferred to five different departments; deaths search, rates, bills, meters etc.. I had to disconnect after a long hold. I tried a second and third time and the receptionist did the same. On the third time I had already lost my temper and gave the receptionist a bushing. I told her not to take Kenyans 40 years back.

I could not believe that government institutions still employ daft telephone operators who cannot differentiate between births search department and deaths or rates department. How can a cashier write Death search on receipt for Birth search.

Working away from the City center where these offices are located, I have to send someone to follow this up. The guy makes several trips to City hall and is told to try another day after the other and it turns out to many days. From Sheria house, he is sent back to City Hall and after making a lot of noise, he is given some files to search and he gets the baby’s name.

This irritated me a lot. Then on one day I decided to go to Sheria house myself thinking that the guy was not aggressive enough. To my amazement, the lady wondered why I had paid 100 bob at City Hall for the search, then after looking at my application form she tells me to come back the next Monday because there was no power. I could not believe that a whole government office can be without power the whole day and does not have a generator (40 years after independence). Unbelievable!

When Monday came, I sent my man. He pays another Ksh. 90 and is told to go back after another month to get the certificate. My God what is wrong with our Kenyan government offices? Can they grow up to 40 years!

Can you imagine what would happen when you or your child are to travel abroad and need a passport which you cannot get without a birth certificate? No wonder we cannot get rid of corruption completely in this country.

NINAVUMILIA KUA MKENYA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Ssembonge said...

Even though I was born in Nairobi, my parents got for me my birth certificate in one of the upcountry towns because it was easier to do so. And that was more than 20 years ago.

So my birth certificate says I was born elsewhere yet I was born in Nairobi. said...

To me one should be able to get a birth certificate faster in Nairobi being the capital city, than the upcountry towns. All the same its our right to be given this vital documents faster now with improved technology.

My parents presented my birth certificate application in Nairobi when I was a baby. Sheria house lost the records, they refused to bribe to get it. Luckily they had kept discharge sheet from the hospital I was born and I used that to get my birth certificate after 20 years, in order to apply for a passport.

Anonymous said...

We have a Kenyan that is a landed immigrant in Canada at our Highschool and he wants to play sports at the school. But, the administration he must prove he is under 19 first. He has no record of birth only that his mother has told him he is 18. How does one get a birth certificate from Kenya for this person (Can it be done??)

Sue said...

First anonymous am surprised that this Kenyan landed in Canada with a passport because one cannot get a passport in Kenya without a birth certificate. Unless it was a fake passport and I thought things are getting computerized so this should have been detected. May be you should tell me how this guy got his traveling documents or passport, was it a special arrangement?

I would not be in a position to help you or know if this is possible because I do not work in Sheria house or any government institution. It is also against the law for someone to fake his/her age. It would be better for you to check with Kenyan immigration office there.

We want a corruption free country, so such arrangements should not be allowed. said...


I found this blog after searching for a way to obtain my birth certificate for a UK passport so I'm hoping that maybe someone can give me some info.

The Kenyan high commision website says it'll take 14 weeks to get me my birth certificate but i need it in the next month or so.

I take it from your posts that all the records are held in Sheria house, can i contact them directly from the UK, or maybe the hospital i was born in (Aga khan University Hospital)? Or is this going to take just as long due to the problem pointed out in the original post.

I've contacte many places but no-one seems to reply to e-mails and phone calls so any help would be greatly appreciated

sila said...

I got my birth certificate from those proffesional crooks in river road.No document in kenya is impossible to get in river road.
I also used it to get my passport.Im now abroad studying law.
You see, I can't wait for those stupid bastards in sheria house to be a barrier between me and my destiny.
Maybe after my studies, i will get a legit birth certificate.For now, life goes on.

African Women said...

Ni Kilucy tu tulipate. Hate that 40bob