Former Lamu deputy governor Eric Mugo has asked the Ministry of Interior to release ID cards to enable applicants to register as voters.
Mugo, who will vie for governor on The Service Party ticket, said Lamu has many youths who have attained 18 years and applied for the IDs but are yet to get them.
He said the vetting process for applicants was slow and inconvenient and many are denied the document for flimsy reasons.
Mugo spoke as he embarked on voter registration sensitization across Lamu county, where he urged all eligible adults to register.
“Let those who have reached 18 years and above be given ID cards without any restrictions or unnecessary vetting hurdles. We can’t talk about democratic space if we can’t give such groups IDs and allow them to exercise their legal rights,” he said.
As a security measure, the national government halted the issuance of ID cards in terror-prone areas in 2014 following fears that Al Shabaab militants would who were crossing into Lamu and conducting attacks would get the IDs.
There were also concerns that al Shabaab had already been successful in infiltrating the system and got IDs.
The exercise, however, resumed in 2019 with stricter regulations that include being thoroughly vetted and approved.
Mugo said the government should find a balance between containing terrorism and allowing Boni residents to exercise their democratic rights.