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Kenya launches online marriage services amid Covid-19 pandemic

Friday July 10 2020
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A couple exchanging wedding rings. FOTOSEARCH

By SARAH NANJALA

Kenya has launched online marriage services in a bid to eliminate human traffic at Sheria House and curb the spread of the coronavirus outbreak.

State Law Office Chief Administrative Secretary Winnie Guchu said couples intending to get married will have to do the entire registration process on the eCitizen portal.

“There will be no more manual services at the registrar of marriage at Sheria House as all services will be available online.

“We do not want any couple coming for services at Sheria House unless it is of utmost importance,” she said.

Marriage services at the government office were initially been suspended in May after an influx of clients at the registrar of marriage brought a dilemma on enforcing Covid-19 measures while keeping services running.

Before the Covid-19 outbreak, Sheria House used to attend to about 400 clients during low season and 600 clients during the high season months of August and December. The closure in May resulted to the suspension of 2,551 marriages, officials said.

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However, when marriage services briefly resumed in mid-May, 1,841 couples, whose marriages were suspended wanted to proceed with their civil wedding, a move that Ms Guchu said brought enormous challenges at the office of the registrar of marriage.

“When we resumed, only 700 couples were willing to postpone their weddings however we were left with a bulk of 1,841 couples. We are hoping that more people will postpone their weddings so we can manage the numbers,” she said.

Couples planning to do a civil wedding, will now be required to register their details on the eCitizen portal, pay for the marriage fee, book for a pre-wedding interview and later get an appointment for the wedding to be officiated by the registrar.

The schedule will have to be adhered to and if not the couples will have to book new dates.

“After completion of registration on the platform, couples will still be given 21-days’ notice for approval just as it was in the manual process. However, this process will be first rolled out in Nairobi, and thereafter in other counties after the platform takes root,” the CAS added.

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