On the 22nd January, 2019, while speaking in Mombasa, President Uhuru Kenyatta directed all Kenyans to be registered digitally and be given Huduma identification numbers. He said the database will also contain information of all foreign nationals residing in the country.
The President said: "°ń°ń..to enhance the progress made by the Integrated Population Registration System, my administration will complete a central master population database which will be the authentic °∆single source of truth°« on personal identity in Kenya."
°»For each registration, the National Integrated Identity Management System (NIMS) will generate a unique identification number which will be known as the Huduma Namba,°… the President added.
Following the above directive, the Pilot program of the National Integrated Identity Management System (NIIMS) also known as °∆Huduma Namba°« has commenced today in Nyandarua County under the Supervision of Interior Principal Secretary, Karanja Kibicho.
What is Huduma Namba?
Huduma Namba is a programme which was initiated through Executive Order No. 1 of 2018 to create and manage a Central Master Population Register that will be the authentic °∆source of truth°« of identity of all persons residing in Kenya.
At the onset, the pilot project will be undertaken in Fifteen Counties: Nyandarua, Nairobi, Uasin Gishu, Kisumu, Kisii, Kajiado, Baringo, Marsabit, Wajir, Embu, Busia, Kiambu, Kilifi, Tana River and Makueni respectively.
Between 18th and 22nd February 2019, residents of 40 sub-locations in the 15 counties picked for the pilot experiment of Huduma Namba will have their data captured in biometric kits. About 50,000 registration officials are set to be attached to various assistant chiefs°« offices to carry out the task that will see Kenya have a NIIMS. Mass Registration of persons across the whole country is scheduled to begin on March, 2019.
For one to be registered, the government will require an identification document which could either be a birth certificate, National Identity Card, driving license or the Kenya Revenue Authority Personal Identification Card (PIN).
A person registering will be required to provide a digital picture, give his/her name, gender, date of birth, age, citizenship, information about parents or guardians, place of birth, phone number, email address, physical and permanent residence and marital status.
Foreign persons will be required to provide their Passport or Alien ID Cards. Children below 6 years will not have their biometrics captured According to the government, among the benefits of having a Huduma Namba is easy access to government services, co-ordinated registration of people and allocation of public resources. it will also address duplication in registration and reduce operational costs, detect and prevent fraud, impersonation or any other crime.
Once registered, a person who is not registered under the Huduma Namba programme woll not access government services such as registration and replacement of ID card; application and renewal of driving licence and passport; NHIF, NSSF, Birth Certificates, Cash transfer to the elderly and subsidized farm inputs among others. According to the Directorate of Immigration Services, Kenyans who fail to register with the Huduma Namba will risk being denied crucial government services.
Anchored in Law?
The move to digitize individual details using the Huduma Namba is anchored in Law. The National Assembly amended The Registration of Persons Act to include digital biometric and data capture under Section 9A.
The amendment introduced to the Act read:
"Insert biometric data ... means unique identifiers or attributes including fingerprints, hand geometry, earlobe geometry, retina and iris patterns, voice waves and Deoxyribonucleic Acid in digital form," read a part of the amendments made to the law".
However, it is worthwhile to note that Kenya does not yet have a proper legal framework that provides for data protection The Data Protection Bill is before Parliament and is yet to be enacted.
Challenged in Court
Further, the Kenya Human Rights Commission has filed a petition in the High Court on the 19th February 2019 seeking to have the amendment to the Registration of Persons Act (cited above) declared unconstitutional and in interim orders restraining the installation and operationalization of the national integrated information management system (NIIMS) CM Advocates shall you keep you updated on the outcome of this matter.
The legality of Huduma Namba has however been challenged in Court by the Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC) and the matter is before the High Court.
CM Advocates will keep you updated on the outcome of this matter
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