By Kiyo Ng’ang’a
The Government will put in place measures to roll out the second phase of the Huduma Namba program.
This comes following yesterday’s judgment by a three-judge High Court bench which validated the legitimacy of the Huduma Namba, also referred to as the National Identity Integrated Management Systems (NIIMS).
A consolidated petition by the Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC), the Nubian Rights Forum and the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) had challenged the legality of the NIIMS platform in court.
The Government was in the end vindicated on most of the issues that were raised. Chief among these, was that the State, through involved Agencies, had adequately and sufficiently invited public participation in the process to amend the Registration of Persons Act to create NIIMS and the miscellaneous amendment Acts. It was also ruled that the move was constitutional. Moreover, the Court was satisfied that the Data Protection Act, enacted in 2019, provides adequate safeguards on data protection, the right to privacy and children’s rights.
With the judgment read by Judges Pauline Nyamweya, Mumbi Ngugi and Weldon Korir, the Government will now implement legislation, policies and a regulatory framework for Kenyans to finally acquire a Huduma Namba and a Huduma Card. There will also be the establishment of NIIMS.
“Upon the roll-out of this phase, the public will immensely benefit from ease of service delivery and other advantages that comes with a unique identification number,” said Interior Ministry Principal Secretary (PS) Dr. Eng. Karanja Kibicho.
“In this regard, the Government will immediately start preparing for the exercise, clean up the relevant pieces of legislation and provide regular updates to the members of public on the state of implementation of the project,” divulged Solicitor General, Mr. Kennedy Ogeto. Enrolment of minors into the Huduma Namba Program by the Government was judged by the Court to be okay as long as consent was sought from the minor’s parent (s) or guardian (s).
Although the Court barred the State from collecting DNA and GPS coordinates in the judgement, it was established that this wasn’t taking place at all.
With the go-ahead, the Government now has the legal mandate and backing to continue providing dignified services to Kenyans in a timely, improved and effective manner.
President Uhuru Kenyatta launched the NIIMS mass registration exercise on 2nd April 2019 in Machakos County. Although hailing from Gatundu in Kiambu County, the President lead by example, demonstrating that one didn’t need to travel to his/her home County to get registered.
By conclusion of the 45-day, 7.5 billion-shilling-exercise, the Government had captured data of over 37 million Kenyans and foreign nationals residing in the country. The process was also a source of employment for thousands of youth who were earning Sh1, 500 a day.
With the rollt out of the second phase imminent, he NIIMS database will now serve as a reference point for ease of service delivery to Kenyans .
For security, NIIMS will help in surveillance and response strategies for the country’s security organs. With a reliable population database, it’ll be easier for the State to determine the number of law enforcement officers required as the Government endea tocitizen ratio vors to realize the of 1:450, United Nations (UN) r ecommended policeas well as police officer per capita rates for different areas. Further, it will be easy to identify individuals that would potentially pose serious threats to public sa fety and national security.
Since an individual’s personal de tails will be consolidated into Huduma Namba , police officers will be able to identify criminal elements and accurately track their operations.
The fact that NIIMS is now interlinked with other databases, including the digital registry of licensed firearm holders and NTSA, informationsharing among security agencies will be seamless and highly reliable. As such, law breakers, rogue motorists and licensed gun owners engaging in criminal activities will be picked out for prosecution at the touch of a button. It is worth noting that the Government has recommitted its energies to tracking down and disrupting terrorist financing, and this system will be ultimately complementing and reinforcing the mult iagency approaches to managing security in the country.
Security aside, the NIIMS system will collapse all data into one portal, meaning Kenyans do not need to carry multiple identifying documents so as to acquire Government services. “ Registering for Huduma Namba will enable the government plan and offer services to you in a faster and more efficient manner and also allow for appropriate resource planning and allocation,” explained Dr. Eng. Karanja Kibicho said.
NIIMS will also harmonize and integrat e the national population database for enhanced efficiency in Government service delivery. It will address duplication in registration, reduced operational costs and detected fraud and impersonation.