The Controversy Surrounding NIIMS: Why Human Rights Groups are Against It

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Interior Permanent Secretary Karanja Kibicho will on Monday launch the “Huduma Namba” (NIIMS) pilot program at the ACK Nyandarua Faith Academy at 9 am in Nyandarua County, Manyatta Sub Location while other PSs will simultaneously launch the programs in another 14 counties.

However, most Kenyans don’t have a clue on what this NIIMS is.

NIIMS is a portal for registration of all Kenyan Citizens and foreigners within the country The National Integrated Identity Management System (NIIMS) is used to establish a master population register that will be the only single source of identify any person in Kenya.

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The system will capture each person’s nationality, place of birth, marital status, education background, employment status, disability, agricultural activities, and biometrics.

The government intends to use existing identification documents to verify and register people in NIIMS. Therefore, people who currently don’t have identification documents will not feature in the NIIMS database and will technically be non-existent in Kenya.

Through NIIMS, the government will capture data of Kenyans from the age of six in a bid to create and manage a central master population register that will be the authentic source of truth of the identity of all persons residing in Kenya, including foreigners.

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This has not been met with open arms from the human rights groups, especially Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC) who have listed a myriad of problems.

KHRC, through the social media, has stated that the new system inherits existing obstacles and risks excluding some Kenyans, especially, from boarder and pastoral communities.

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The commission has also alluded to data privacy and protection given that Kenya does not have a legal framework for the same. According to them, if all data is to be centralized, then the government should guarantee that sensitive data should be protected.

They also criticize the manner in which the policy was passed, terming it malicious while indicating that the process denied Kenyans the right to participate.

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Upon registration, a number will be given, termed a Huduma Namba, that will be unique to everyone and according to Kibicho, lack of registration on the NIIMS portal will lead to missing out on accessing government services, ID, passport, driving licenses and birth certificates.


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