Many Kenyans are incensed that the government of Kenya is charging for national identity cards.
Prior to now, Kenyans who turned 18 could obtain ID cards for free; however, new applicants must now pay 1,000 Kenyan shillings ($6; £5).
ID card replacements now cost 2,000 shillings, a 20-fold increase.
Kenyans are in a broad protest about the increased fees, particularly on social media, as a result of the country’s rapidly rising cost of living.
The updated fees also apply to other documents issued by the government, including birth and death certificates, marriage certificates, work licenses, and passports.
More than fifty percent more will be spent on getting or updating different types of passports, while the cost of getting birth and death certificates has gone up to 200 shillings, more than four times the original amount.
Civil weddings now cost 50,000 shillings, ten times more than they did ten years ago, while marriage certificates now cost 100,000 shillings, more than three times as much.
In addition, the government has increased the price of obtaining citizenship or residency; for example, children born to Kenyan citizens overseas must now pay twice as much to obtain permanent residence in Kenya, up to one million shillings.
The increases are the most recent in a string of policies President William Ruto’s administration has implemented to raise money since taking office last year.
Many Kenyans have expressed dissatisfaction at having to pay more for public services that they feel should already be covered by their taxes.
Concerns have been expressed that the significant and sudden hikes may make it more difficult for Kenyans in lower socioeconomic status to use government services or take part in activities like marriage and voting that need for official documentation.
On the social media site X, a Kenyan user wrote, “Jokes aside, paying for an ID excludes a group of people from voter registration hence a huge hindrance to the realization of the right to vote.”
27% of Kenyans, according to the World Bank, are below the poverty line and make less than $2.15 a day.
While some government officials have refuted the price hikes, certain lawmakers have also criticized them.
The department of Diaspora Affairs’ Roseline Njogu stated that the increase in permanent residence costs for Kenyan nationals’ children born outside “were entered in error” and will be fixed.
President Ruto’s administration has raised taxes on basic needs like gasoline and fees for other government services like national park admission since taking office in September of last year.
Protests against the controls over the expense of living earlier this year were sparked by the spiraling effects of these measures on transportation, electricity, and commodities costs.
Although he hasn’t addressed the increases, President Ruto is anticipated to make his first state of the nation speech later on Thursday. In it, he will highlight some of the accomplishments of his administration in the last 12 months as well as the steps he plans to take to reduce debt and the high cost of living.