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Government Lacks Legal Instrument to Implement New Passport

The State Minister of Internal Affairs, Obiga Kania on Tuesday failed to explain to Members of Parliament the legal policy applied to determine the migration from the existing passport to the East African electronic passport.

Mr. Obiga, in the first official statement from the Executive regarding the introduction of e-passport on the floor of Parliament on Tuesday, said the current passports will be phased out in two years.

“Government is set to introduce the new International East African e-Passport to replace and eventually phase out the current East African and National Machine Readable Passports,” said Obiga.

The Minister explained to the legislators that the new passport, to be inoculated by digital technology, is going to end forgeries.

“The key benefits are that these e-Passports are more superior to the Machine Readable Passports (MRP) and have a microprocessor which stores a digital version of the photo as well as identification data normally on the bio data page of the paper passport hence making it dramatically harder to forge,” he explained.

However the Minister failed to tell MPs the policy employed apart from citing the resolution of a 2016 Heads of State Summit.

“Hon. Members of Parliament and Colleagues, you recall that during the ’17rh Ordinary Summit of the East African Community Heads of State held in March 2016, Their Excellencies launched the new EAC e-Passport and directed that commencement of the issuance of the new international EAC e-Passport should take effect by 1st January 2017, and thereafter implement a phase out program for the current Machine Readable East African and National Passports, in a period of two years.”

When tasked to name the legal instrument, Obiga asked to be given time return to the floor next week with an answer.

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“Members I request to return next week with a precise response on the matter,” said Obiga.

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