Kenyans seeking services from various government agencies have been experiencing delays all year round. In several instances, IT systems and machinery have been blamed for the delays. The Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) has come out to acknowledge that indeed they are struggling with “a huge backlog of Police Clearance Certificate applications”. This backlog stretches back to April this year.
DCI blamed the backlog on the breakdown of the Automated Fingerprint Identification System (APFIS). In September, the investigative agency came out to state that the APFIS had undergone a system upgrade. The said upgrade resolved the issue. Additionally, the DCI promised to move to a new Multi-Biometric Identification System (MBIS). MBIS was meant to be more efficient in service delivery. This is yet to happen.
An upgrade to the APFIS was not the only action needed to sort the matter. In July, Immigration and Citizens Services Principal Secretary Mr Julius Bitok told MPs that the company providing the APFIS was owed KES 31.5 million by the government. This debt had affected government services including the processing of passports.
About 400K Police Clearance Certificates Pending
Kenya has about between 13,000 and 15,000 daily applicants for the Police Clearance Certificate. Issues facing the APFIS led to a backlog of over 600,000 police clearance applications. To deal with this backlog, the DCI claims it is “ incorporating both automated and manual processing of the applications.” Moreover, officers from the Forensic Fingerprint Identification Bureau (FFIB) are working extended hours including Saturdays and Sundays to enhance throughput
DCI is also giving special consideration to needy cases like overseas medical treatment, scholarships and booked flights. “To ensure such needy cases and all delayed cases are promptly addressed, our officers at the DCI headquarters and Huduma Centres (DCI Desks) countrywide are sorting out and separately packaging such requests before submitting them for urgent processing.” Read part of the statement.
Currently, 390,778 pending applications are yet to be processed. This means since the system issues were resolved, DCI personnel have only processed about 200,000 pending applications. Once, the current backlog is cleared, the DCI promises a two-week wait time by February 2024 for police clearance certificates.