Ruto: We will revive ‘dysfunctional’ Huduma Namba

President William Ruto has directed the Ministry of Information, Communications, and the Digital Economy Cabinet Secretary Eliud Owalo to work on a digital identity for every Kenyan as part of the digital superhighway.

“In the next six months, 5000 government services will be online. Initially they were 200 services online. I want to ask the ICT CS to work on Digital Identity. So the initially dysfunctional Huduma thing, will be revived,” the president said.

He spoke on Friday during the launch of the Digital Protection System at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre.

“The Huduma-thing that never was must be a success. It’s not the work of the government to issue identification numbers, it is the work of the government to identify the citizens,” Ruto affirmed.

Just a few days ago, Owalo while speaking to Citizen TV revealed that President Ruto’s government was going to leverage on the project, to propel its ‘Digital Superhighway’ agenda.

“It is the same thing we are going to do as we roll out this government digitization process because it is still imperative that we don’t need as Kenyans to go to government offices flashing identity cards,” he said.

Huduma Namba was initiated during the Jubilee regime, under former President Uhuru Kenyatta in 2019. It was aimed to  harmonise approaches that seek to address duplication of efforts and to cut costs in registration processes.

On October 14, 2021 the High Court declared the Huduma Namba rollout illegal on grounds of being in conflict with the Data Protection Act, 2019.

Section 31 of the Data Protection Act requires data processing to be preceded by a data protection impact assessment to assess any data processing risks so that they can be mitigated. Delivering the verdict, Justice Jairus Ngaah observed that the assessment was not done before rolling out the Huduma Namba cards.

By October 2021, according to the former government Spokesperson Col. (Rtd) Cyrus Oguna total of 11.2 million Huduma cards have been processed and 6.5 collected.

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