Shock as KHRC Heads to Court in a bid to Block Huduma Namba

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The government on Monday started testing the Sh6 billion plan to register 50 million Kenyans for a digital database. The pilot project is being conducted in 15 counties. They are Nairobi, Makueni, Uasin Gishu, Embu, Busia, Kajiado, Baringo, Marsabit, Kilifi, Kisii, Tana River, Embu, Kisumu, and Wajir.

The National Management System (NIIMS) is a National programme for the mandatory registration of all Kenyan citizens and registered foreigners resident in Kenya established in the 2018 Amendment of Registration of Persons Act Sec. 9A. Kenya Human Rights Commission has moved to court challenging the pilot programme of the National Integrated Identity Management System dubbed ‘Huduma Namba’.

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Kenyans will be required to register for them to access services like applying for an ID, passport or driving licence or a birth certificate. Mass registration of persons across the country has been scheduled to begin on March 18. However, in a statement, KHRC questioned the legality of NIIMS.

“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,” the statement reads in part.

“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.”

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The rights group has also sued National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi, Attorney General Kariuki Kihara, Cabinet secretaries Fred Matiang’i (Interior), Joe Mucheru (ICT) and the Kenya Law Reform.KHRC said the Huduma Namba functions the same way like the Integrated Population Registration System which is already working. The case will be heard on February 21.

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