The hue and cry regarding the recently launched National Integrated Identity Management System (NIIMS) registration exercise has been suspended.
A couple of months ago, ICT CS Joe Mucheru announced that the government was planning to issue Kenyan citizens with a unique number dubbed Hudumu Namba. The new identifier should, supposedly, help the government deliver services in a streamlined manner.
However, millions of people were not ready to be onboarded into the new database, citing various reasons including the government’s constant need of personal details, most of which are not guarded against privacy issues as there is no robust legal framework for data privacy.
The issue was amplified when the relationship between Huduma Namba and the MasterCard-powered Huduma Card was not explained.
The suspension was announced earlier today during a Senate session. The exercise will be picked up only after CS Joe Mucheru and Fred Matiang’i make an appearance at the Senate Standing Committee on National Security, Defense and Foreign Relations on March 11.
The meet should shed more light into the matter, including why the registration process was not subject to examination by members of parliament. At the same time, the two CSs should justify the need of sensitive personal data. The session will also be graced by the Attorney General.
NIIMS’s budget is in the excess of 6 billion shillings. Should it resume, the exercise will record peoples’ biometric data that will be used by the state to improve service delivery.