Attempt to block Kenya's national ID system

Attempt to block Kenya's national ID system

Kenya Human Rights Commission takes legal action to try to prevent system it says is 'shrouded in secrecy.'

The Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC) has lodged a case in court to stop the implementation of the National Integrated Identity Management System (NIIMS) or 'Huduma Number' arguing it is shrouded in secrecy.

"NIIMS was sneaked in through Miscellaneous Amendment Act 2018 that made a major amendment to the Registration of Person Act, inserting a statement that provides the legal basis for the project," KHCR said in a statement.

"Miscellaneous amendments do not give room for facilitating public involvement. NIIMS will have a substantial effect on individuals once implemented, hence ought to have been subjected to public participation," it added.

The KHRC statement added that the system will exclude the registration of border or pastoral communities who have no identification documentation and this will deny them access to government services.

It added that Kenya still lacks data and protection laws, and this could place the security of the citizen database at risk.

The Consumer Federation of Kenya (Cofek) questioned the manner which the technology was awarded to the implementation partners including Mastercard and French firm OT-Morpho which handled the defunct August 2017 General Elections.

The organisation posted a tweet which stated: "THE GOVERNMENT seems set to kill its' own project on National Integrated Identity Management System (NIIMS) by engaging the shameless French firm OT-Morpho - which publicly confessed to have failed to deliver for @IEBCKenya.".

It is understood that the national registration will begin mid-March and the government is adament those not connected with the Huduma Number will not access official services.

In Uasin Gishu county Principal Secretary for Education Dr Richard Belio Kipsang affirmed that there was not mischief in collecting citizen data.

The NIIMS is being piloted in 15 locations in the country.