Thousands of Kenyans who lost their citizenship under the old Constitution will now regain their status in a new drive.
They will have to lodge applications at Nyayo House in Nairobi or at the Kenyan embassies.
So far, more than 25,000 applications are pending at the Immigration offices, Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i said on Wednesday.
Matiang’i has written to the Attorney General to simplify the application process.
Matiang’i said Kenya is keen to reunite families as most of these Kenyans have to apply for visas and cannot engage in gainful employment unless they are issued with permits and passes.
He said the government is aware that Kenyans who lost their citizenship when the new Constitution came into effect and are eager to regain Kenya Citizenship, which is their birthright.
The group was expected to abide by the restrictions that apply to foreign nationals.
“They apply for visas and cannot engage in gainful employment unless they are issued with permits and passes,” he said.
He added the government is also aware of the importance of supporting the family unit as an important pillar of the society and the nation.
The CS said they will prioritize processing of pending Citizenship applications for the spouses of Kenya citizens.
He said the government is aware that there are stateless persons who are descendants of Kenya citizens.
Matiang’i launched a 60-day rapid results initiative programme to clear the backlog and set the stage for speedy processing and issuance of these documents.
“Being a stateless person denies you documents of identity such as national ID cards and passports, without which you miss opportunity for education and gainful employment. During this RRI Programme, applications for citizenship for this category will be expedited.”
The pending applications will be processed within the period of the RRI.
The RRI programme will start on June 2 and run for two months ending on July 31.
However, the application process will continue beyond the RRI period.
The ministry has also identified citizenship applications from investors for fast-tracking during the RRI programme.
An investor Paul Van Brussel who said he had worked in Kenya for 25 years was given his citizenship.
A couple Kennedy Kimari and Lucy Mugua who live in the UK were also given their documents as well as Isaac Ndiema and Madalola Medelaine who live in Kenya
Other benefiting applications are for permanent residence for spouses, children, and widows and widowers of citizens of Kenya.
Thousands of investors will also be issued with permanent residence permits. This status is essential in giving a sense of security and predictability of immigration status to those who have made significant investments.