GARISSA: Residents protests over closure of offices - Daily Nation

Immigration halts services amid outcry

Sunday September 14 2014

Brigadier, Gordon Kihalangwa, now retired, addresses the press during the receiving of potential recruits at the school on October 26, 2012. Immigration boss Major-General (Rtd) Gordon Kihalangwa’s tenure has begun with the closure of four passport offices in Garissa, Embu, Nakuru and Eldoret from last Wednesday, September 10, 2014. PHOTO JARED NYATAYA

Brigadier, Gordon Kihalangwa, now retired, addresses the press during the receiving of potential recruits at the school on October 26, 2012. Immigration boss Major-General (Rtd) Gordon Kihalangwa’s tenure has begun with the closure of four passport offices in Garissa, Embu, Nakuru and Eldoret from last Wednesday, September 10, 2014. PHOTO JARED NYATAYA NATION MEDIA GROUP

By ABDIMALIK HAJIR
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Immigration boss Major-General (Rtd) Gordon Kihalangwa’s tenure has begun with the closure of four passport offices.

Services at Immigration offices in Garissa, Embu, Nakuru and Eldoret were suspended since last Wednesday and officers instructed to return blank passport processing booklets to the headquarters in Nairobi.
Sources in the department said the closure followed an order from Maj-Gen Kihalangwa.

In Garissa, the action has affected more than 700 people who applied for the document, including 400 who plan to travel to Mecca for the Hajj pilgrimage, which begins in a week.

However, the Immigration boss said passports for 116 pilgrims would be ready by Monday. He dispatched a senior immigration officer to Garissa to oversee preparation of the documents.

Some 300 Kenyan and Sierra Leonean Amisom soldiers set for deployment to Somalia are among the affected.

Leaders and residents of Garissa and the entire north eastern region on Sunday threatened to hold demonstrations to press for resumption of the services.

Supkem Chairman Abdullahi Salat said the closure of the Garissa office was ill-timed because many Muslims had applied for the travel documents.

Many of the applicants are elderly people who cannot travel frequently to follow up on the matter, he said. “We appeal to the government to reconsider its decision.”

The applicants were not issued with a notice before suspension of the services, he said.

Mr Hassan Hussein, a youth leader, said many young people who had paid Sh4,050 for processing of their passports did not know what to do.

"If the office does not resume services today, the youths would demonstrate in the town," he added.