Kenyans living abroad are up in arms over government decision to raise passport fees for the Diaspora.
In the changes made to the Citizenship and Immigration Regulations by Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i on January 18, Kenyans in diaspora will pay nearly double the amounts fellow citizens are charged for the travel documents.
Kenyans living in the US have been hit hardest by the new regulations that require them to pay twice as much as is charged locally for a passport.
Kenyans in Canada and US who spoke to Nation on phone said they were unhappy.
“This is a clear move by a corrupt government that has run out of money and ideas on how to create wealth to improve the welfare of Kenyans,” said Mr Anthony Muhula, a Kenyan resident of Montreal, Canada.
“Instead, (it) is now frantically looking for ways to fill the hole in the government coffers they raided to finance the campaigns. Kenyan abroad should resist this exploitation!”
Previously, the regulations were silent on fees payable by those applying for passports from embassies abroad, only setting out one uniform fee structure.
Initially, the passports cost Sh4,500, Sh6,000 and Sh7,500 for a 32-page, 48-page and 64-page, respectively.
“Severely outraged by this latest ‘decree’ from the Kenya government. One would have thought that the unending sore of these Kenyans being denied their right to vote was vile enough,” Mr Henry K. Ongeri, an attorney, posted on Facebook.
“Apparently, it has also become forgivable to just see them as endless cash cows whose dollars and Euros ooze from their very beings.”
Mr Ongeri accused the government of treating the Kenyan diaspora as second-class citizens by violating their rights.
“This is not about the amount, many Kenyans in the diaspora can manage to pay the sum, but it is the principle that galls us. Due process and equal treatment before the law, what animals are those, they ask? I am livid and hope that I am not alone,” he added.
In the new fee structure, diplomatic passports will go up by almost Sh10,000 for those living in the US and the Caribbean countries.
From Sh7,500 initially, those who want to hold diplomatic passports will be expected to pay Sh17,000.
Similarly, those who have lost their passports or would like to renew mutilated ones will pay double after the fee was raised from Sh10,000 to Sh20,000.
Kenyans in the US who would like to replace their lost passports will pay Sh21,000, up from Sh12,000.
For those living in the United Kingdom, a 32-page passport will cost Sh6,403.
They will pay Sh7,516 for a 48-page passport while a 64-page passport will cost them Sh12,807
Kenyans living in the EU will part with Sh7,516 for a 32-page passport, Sh9,395 for a 48-page passport and Sh11,274 for a 64-page passport.
Kenyans living in Africa, Australia and Asia will pay Sh5,000 for a 32-page passport and Sh6,500 for a 48-page passport.
A 64-page passport will cost them Sh8,000.
The Matiang’i changes were triggered by an amendment of the Kenya Citizenship and Immigration Regulations 2012 that were put in place by then Immigration Minister, the late Otieno Kajwang’.