Senate’s security committee want the government to immediately stop the implementation of the controversial National Integrated Information Management Systems (NIIMS) until the summoned officials address concerns raised by lawmakers.
On Thursday the committee summoned three Cabinet secretaries after they failed to appear for questioning over issues raised over the piloting of the government’s Sh6 billion digital registration of Kenyans.
The lawmakers had summoned Interior Cabinet Secretary (CS) Fred Matiang’I, Information and Communications Technology CS Joe Mucheru and the Attorney-General Kihara Kariuki on Thursday for a joint sitting of House committees but instead they sent Interior Cabinet Administrative Secretary Patric Ntutu.
The acting chairman of the committee Johnson Sakaja issued the summons after the two CSs and Mr Kihara failed to appear before the committee on Thursday to respond to concerns raised by members over the implementation of the Sh6 billion project that is already being piloted in 15 counties.
“We expect the CSs to treat this matter with the seriousness it deserves,” Nairobi Senator Johnson Sakaja, who is the committee’s acting chairman, told Mr Ntutu.
The committee had invited the CSs in what would have been a joint sitting of three House committees to discuss the issue that has seen the government start collecting personal data for the programme senators say has no legal backing.
Bungoma Senator Moses Wetangula queried the legal framework underpinning the NIIMS, arguing that it was enacted by the National Assembly through the Statute Miscellaneous (Amendment) Bill of 2018 without the input of the senate.
“The protection of the personal data is sacrosanct. You cannot bring this kind of a bill with far reaching amendments through the miscellaneous bill, more so without the input of the Senate. NIIMS must be suspended,” he said.
Senators’ also want to know whether the Huduma identification numbers will replace the national identity card.
Under the programme, Kenyans are to be registered digitally and given unique identification numbers generated by NIIMS, akin to the ID card number.
Senators also questioned the government’s capacity to issue the new numbers given its inefficiency in issuing Kenyans with ID cards.