The report that the main printer at the Immigration Department has broken down, causing delays in the issuance of passports is nothing short of negligence. It should not be allowed.
For more than two months, the machine that produces the travel documents has been out of use.
The State has been relying on a smaller printer as the backlog piles up.
Besides the breakdown and a lack of repairs so far, the production of passports has been hampered by a shortage of booklets.
These developments are unacceptable for a country like Kenya, which spends trillions of shillings per year and prides itself as the most developed in the region.
Immigration and Citizen Services has a budget of Sh1.7 billion in the current fiscal year alone. Making sure the printers are working should have been a top priority.
Given the critical nature of global travel, Kenya should have a modern printer on standby to ensure the uninterrupted issuance of passports.
The government has enough budget to procure more printers and keep them in good condition. This is what taxpayers, who also pay a lot of money for travel documents, expect.
The passports cost from Sh4,500 to Sh7,550 each, making some of the most expensive official documents.
People travel for various reasons, including medical care, jobs, education, business and family get-together.
This means failure to travel within a specific timeframe can inflict serious losses.