Thousands of Kenyan couples cannot get married due to COVID-19

Tying the knot, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, will not be as easy as walking down the aisle, or even saying “I do”.

You may have to wait a little longer as the Office of the Attorney General awaits a clean bill of health from the Ministry of Health to conduct marriage services.

The AG’s office says it is hopeful to re-open and clear a backlog of thousands of marriages suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“For now we are dealing with backlog. We are hoping that by Monday next week the Ministry of Health will come and inspect these premises and give us the go-ahead. Once the go-ahead is given, we shall start with the backlog,” said Winnie Guchu, the Chief Administrative Secretary, State Law Office.

According to data from the registrar of marriages, the number of those seeking to officiate their conjugal bond during this period has gone up.

At least 815 people had signed up to do so before the pandemic struck with another 1754 who sought the legal document before proceeding to tie the knot in either a church or in a temple.

"Only 22 marriages have not expired, the remaining 793 the 90-day period has expired and those couples will have to reapply so that they go go back to the 90-day period. If we do conduct those marriages outside the 90-day period those marriages will not be valid,” added Guchu.

But the biggest concern to the registrar of marriages is how they will clear the backlog of more than 2500 cases that have had to be suspended.

Officials at the State Law office indicate that fresh online applications will have to be made from those affected.

“We have digitised all the marriages processes and the Kenyan citizen will be able to make applications and payment for service electronically,” said Silas Oswe.

The services partially resumed on May 18th for selected marriage services but were suspended after many Kenyans flocked the Attorney General’s office in Nairobi raising fears of the spread of COVID-19.

The hopes of many couples who wish to officiate their unions now lying at the hands of the Ministry of Health with the Attorney General’s office assuring the parties affected that soon the operations at Sheria House will resume.
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