Government Spokesperson Col (Rtd) Cyrus Oguna in a phonecall with Kenyans.co.ke gave an update on the issuance of Huduma Nambas.
It has been eight months since the registration deadline passed and many Kenyans have grown sceptical of the National Integrated Identity Management System (NIIMS).
After the deadline lapsed, he told Kenyans.co.ke that citizens who gave their correct information during the registration process would receive their Huduma Nambas through their mobile phones.
However, on January 31, in a statement hinted that other than just the digits, Kenyans would also be issued with cards (e-IDs).
“The government has commenced the process towards generation and issuance o Huduma Nambas and Huduma Namba electronic identity cards to those who were registered,” read part of Oguna’s press release.
Upon further probing, he intimated to this writer that he would release a schedule which Kenyans would use to collect their documents.
The High Court also gave the government the all-clear to implement the National Integrated Identity Management System (NIIMS), also known as Huduma Namba.
A three-judge bench consisting of Justices Pauline Nyamweya, Weldon Korir and Mumbi Ngugi gave the government clearance to issue the Huduma Nambas but directed that the process must be done within a proper regulatory framework.
While there were concerns that the information obtained during the registration exercise conducted in 2019 violated citizens’ right to privacy, the judges ruled that the collection of DNA samples and GPS information was not only intrusive but also unnecessary.
“Collection of DNA samples and GPS information for purposes of identification is intrusive and unnecessary to the extent it is not authorized by anchoring legislation is unconstitutional,” said the court ruling.
The controversy surrounding the Huduma Namba registration exercise was also topped by the government’s proposal that failure to register would mean denial of access to certain services.
The Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government also proposed seven hefty fines to be imposed on anyone who would be caught engaging in 17 listed activities without a Huduma Namba or Card.
The proposal can be found on the ICT ministry’s website and lists the 17 transactions that will require the use of the card. The draft law, uploaded on July 12, 2019, was marked for public consultations.
Section 8 of the proposed law stated that every resident individual shall have a mandatory obligation to present their Huduma Namba in order to—
(a) Be issued with a passport;
(b) Apply for a driving licence;
(c) Register a mobile phone number;
(d) Register as a voter;
(e) Pay taxes;
(f) Transact in the financial markets;
(g) Open a bank account;
(h) Register a company or a public benefit organisation;
(i) Transfer or make any dealings in land;
(j) Register for electricity connection;
(k) Access Universal Health Care services;
(l) Benefit from the government housing scheme;
(m) Register a marriage;
(n) Enrol into a public educational facility;
(o) Access social protection services;
(p) Register or transfer a motor vehicle; or
(q) Any other specified public service.
“A person who carries out or permits the carrying out of any transaction specified in Section 8 without a Huduma Namba commits an offence,” reads part of the proposed Huduma Namba Bill 2019.
A person who gives false information or makes a false statement when providing information for an entry into the NIIMS database or forges an identity document to enrol into NIIMS.
A person who illegally influences the decision of a NIIMS registration officer commits an offence.
A person who:
(a) wilfully destroys or attempts to destroy, or mutilates or attempts to mutilate a Huduma card;
(b) unlawfully alters or modifies information on a Huduma card; or
(c) permits use of their Huduma Card by another person commits an offence.
A person who unlawfully makes, produces, prints, binds, designs, or distributes a Huduma card commits an offence.
A NIIMS registration officer or any other authorised officer, who without authority discloses, submits or transfers data from the NIIMS database to any other person, commits an offence.
A parent, guardian, or any other person ceased with the affairs of a child, who willfully and without a justifiable cause, fails to notify the occurrence of birth or cause a new-born to be enrolled into NIIMS, commits an offence.
Any person who buries, cremates, otherwise disposes, or oversees supervises any disposal of the body of a deceased person, whose death has not been notified and registered under this Act, commits an offence.
Transacting without a Huduma Namba attracts a 1-year jail term and Ksh1 million fine.
An enrollment offence will attract a 5-year jail term and 5 million fine.
Tampering with the Huduma Card will set you back Ksh3 million and a jail term of 3 years.
Unlawful production will attract a 3-year jail term.
Failure to register a birth will result in a 1-year jail term and a fine of Ksh1 million.
Unauthorised disclosure of data will attract a 5-year jail term and a Ksh5 million fine.
Failure to register a death will result in a 2-year jail term and a Ksh2 million.