Kenyans will now be able to digitally access birth and death certificates from March 1, 2023.
This follows a statement made by Immigration and Citizen Services Principal Secretary Julius Bitok.
Kenyans have been accessing documents using manual means for an extended period.
The exercise has also been cumbersome and forced some people to travel to their areas of birth just to apply for and pick their birth certificates.
While this is a good development, it is not clear whether the application process for the two documents has been digitized.
Accessing such documents from the Immigration Ministry will go a long way in alleviating bureaucratic hurdles that Kenyans have faced before when trying to access them.
Only a few documents such as passports can be applied for and picked using online channels. However, many locals have been complaining about the long process of accessing the documents, and the ministry said that it did not have sufficient funds to purchase passport prints in a bid to fast-track printing.
Nonetheless, the move also goes hand in hand with the government’s plan to digitize most of its services.
Just the other day, the ICT CS Eliud Owalo reiterated President Ruto’s goal of digitizing at least 5,000 government services within the next six months, as stipulated in the Digital Superhighway document that was part of his campaign.
To this end, the ICT Ministry has since reported that 350 services have already been digitized. The CS believes that the goal of digitizing 5,000 services is possible within the next six months.
The government has already taken over the eCitizen platform and plans to upgrade the infrastructure and add more services to it.
The eCitizen platform was previously run by a private sector entity for the past 10 years.
The government took over the platform because it is an integral component of digital space and the public interest is better protected when it is in the hands of the state.
However, the final nod from the Attorney General is needed before agreements can be signed to fully transfer control of the eCitizen platform to the government.
Another key point that emerged from the interview is that Treasury has gazetted the platform as the official government digital payment platform.
This means that the platform will be used to collect all fees paid to the government for any service.