Photo by Doug Peter/AP Wire
By JULIUS MBALUTO
Covid-19 pandemic has affected many things. It has not spared businesses, corporates and even government institutions. This was brought to the fore when Kenya’s Ambassador to the UK HE Manoah Esipisu spoke during a townhall meeting conducted virtually, on 17th March 2021.
A few Kenyans had raised questions pertaining service delivery at Kenya High Commission in London. The Ambassador explained clearly how services at the embassy had been affected by Covid-19 pandemic. He said in some cases, the numbers to be attended had to be reduced in line with Covid-19 pandemic regulations.
Others had gone a step further and after consultation raised 17 key questions which they wanted the Kenya High Commission to address. This group was led by Lydia Tett Olet, founder of Kenya and Friends in the Park.
Others in her team were Elizabeth - Mya Chemonges-Murzynowska, a Kenyan married to a polish and working as an early years’ practitioner, founder of Wakenya in the Highlands, Scotland and Bernadetta Omondi, the Chairperson of Kenyan Community Association of Peterborugh. She is also the Chair of Peterboruogh Racial Council and was awarded one of the Census 2021 Purple Plagues in recognition of her services to her community.
Also in the group, Sally Njoki Nyinza, a community champion in Sheffield working with BAME communities with focus on EDI (Equality, Diversity and Inclusion) and Suleiman Kisimbi, an IT specialist, Systems Engineer who specializes on service delivery and infrastructure implementation.
This group was not disappointed as all their questions were answered. The Kenya High Commission Team took extra time to give Kenyans the chance to ask questions. Some of the questions asked and answered from Lydia Olet team are below:
Question: If you have had your biometrics taken in 2020 and they are in the system, why do we need to get them taken again to renew a passport? Are they not saved in the database?
Answer: These are not connected for now but in the future this is something they are looking into. But for now it is not possible.
Question: Can a UK or diaspora mobile number be added to e-citizen portal to allow people to register when opening an account? At present you only need a Kenyan number which is hard if you are in the diaspora and do not have a Kenyan sim card. You have to go home (Kenya) to get a sim card as there are no provisions to obtain a Kenyan sim in the UK.
Answer: There is no need for that. You can use your UK number.
Question: Can you renew an expired passport without a Kenyan ID card and with just the passport number no physical passport?
Answer: No You need your ID
Question: How can you book an appointment for biometrics to be taken when the Kenyan office in the UK is not listed and remains closed?
Answer - The KHC is an arm of government therefore it is mandated. Asking questions by Kenyans was the best thing to do for its always good to make informed decision. As well when things change, questions and answer can only improve understanding. Hence, it was great to see Kenya High Commission in London dedicate time to address all the issues raised promising to do better.
More questions and answers during that meeting which will be posted on Sauti ya Mwananchi facebook page. To know more about services offered by Kenya High Commission in London, visit www.kenyahighcom.org.uk