Kenya’s National Integrated Identity Management System (NIIMS), popularly known as Huduma Namba, will soon come into operation according to the Ministry of Interior.
Huduma Namba is expected to be the ‘single source of truth’ on a person’s identity.
The database will contain information of all Kenyan citizens and foreign nationals residing in Kenya and will serve as a reference point for ease of service delivery to the people of Kenya and the people in Kenya.
However, in a statement issued Friday, Mr Moffat Kangi, the Principal Administrative Secretary in the office of the President said the public needs “to be wary of misinformation, disinformation and conspiracy theories propagated about Huduma Namba”.
Kangi disclosed that the database logistics and the software for NIIMS are 100 percent Kenyan government-funded, designed, developed, and solely managed by Kenyans. No single component of the implementation process is handled by foreigners.
“Over 90 percent of the datasets collected from the 37 million Kenyans during the mass registration exercise have been cleaned up and matched, with mass production of Huduma cards set to begin by the end of this year,” he added.
On 20th November 2018, the National Assembly enacted the Statute Law (Miscellaneous Amendment) Act No. 18 of 2018. The President assented to the Act on 31st December 2018, and it came into force on 18 th January 2019.
The effect of the Act was to amend several provisions of a number of existing statutes, among them the Registration of Persons Act. The amendments to the Registration of Persons Act establish the NIIMS.
Kangi added that the process has been slowed down by the case filed at the High Court through consolidated petitions from The Nubian Rights Forum, the Kenya Human Rights Commission, and the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights who had argued that changes made to the Registration of Persons Act posed serious and immediate threats to fundamental rights and freedoms protected under the Bill of Rights.
January 30 th 2020, the High Court halted all further implementation of NIIMS until the government enacted a proper data protection framework.
“The court directed that the government roll out the system on condition that an appropriate and comprehensive regulatory framework on the implementation of NIIMS, that is compliant with the applicable constitutional requirements, is first enacted,” Mr. Kangi said.
Kangi said, “So, far, great strides have been made concurrently with the review and reinforcement of the legal and regulatory framework for the implementation process.”
Part of the process is complying with the court order, the Interior and ICT ministries have drafted The Data Protection (Civil Registration) Regulations, 2020 and The Registration of Persons (National Integrated Identity Management System) Regulations, 2020, which will be operationalised after public participation.
“A pre-publication scrutiny of the two statutory instruments has been held with the Parliamentary Committee on Delegated Legislation preparatory to their enactment into laws,” Kangi said.