The issue of de-registering of Kenyans whose fingerprints were captured in the refugee database and the –re-opening of the Liboi border point featured prominently during the official commissioning of the Liboi subcounty, Garissa.
Several leaders who spoke at the ceremony regretted that the exercise has dragged for long thereby subjecting those affected to untold suffering.
In November 2019 the government launched a month-long exercise to deregister Kenyans who might have mistakenly registered as refugees.
The ceremony was attended by several local leaders among them Garissa Governor Ali Korane and was presided over by then-Interior Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) Patrick Ole Ntutu.
The government then embarked on the exercise of vetting the affected.
But now the leaders are crying foul saying that the government seems not in a hurry of completing the exercise and giving the victims Kenyan ID cards who say they are suffering.
They included MPs Mohamed Dahiye (Daadab), Mohamed Hire (Lagdera), Sofia Abdi Noor (Ijara women representative) Anab Gure, former governor Nathif Jama, former MPs Mohamed Shidiye and Farah Maalim and several MCAs.
Dahiye whose constituency has been affected the most wondered why the exercise has dragged for long, despite the victims having been thoroughly vetted by the committees.
“When the government finally headed to our pleas and numerous request to look into the matter and launched the exercise at Garissa primary school playgrounds a year ago, we were a very happy lot both as leaders and those who were affected. Unfortunately, our joy has been short-lived since nothing seems to be moving,” said Dahiye.
He added: “As a leader, I have tried my best to follow up on the matter through the relevant offices but all I am told that it is being worked on. Surely until when? We are talking about people who have lost independence. They cannot move around, go to college or even open bank accounts,”.
The Lagdera MP urged the government agencies charged with the responsibility to hasten the process so that the affected get their lives back to normalcy.
The Ijara MP said that it would be wrong for those who are handling the exercise to drag it saying that doing so ‘was only making the victims lives more miserable’.
“But I would want to address the elephant in the room, stories of people saying that the numbers of community A will become more than those of community B once the exercise is finally concluded should neither be here nor there. They are Kenyans and should be treated as such because it’s their constitutional right. This issue is very sensitive and should not be politicized by anyone for selfish interest, Sofia said.
The leaders also urged the government to re-open the border now that the area is now a fully-fledged subcounty.
This they said will fasten development and deepen ties between the two neighbouring countries.
Dahiye said the move will also insecurity incidences especially those targeting security personnel seen out to stop the illicit trade.
However, Northeastern Regional Commissioner Musyoka Ndalana who was the chief guest said that the issue of de-registration was at an advanced stage and ‘soon there will be some positive news’.
On the issue of border re-opening, the RC said that it involved two countries where each side is supposed to open its.
“If there is a designated border point, there must a mutual agreement between two countries and that is where the biggest problem is,” he said.