Interior Cabinet Secretary Dr. Fred Matiang’i has said that they will not force Kenyans to register for the Huduma Namba. He however added that it will be very hard for those who will not have registered for the Huduma Namba to access Government services.

The National Integrated Identity Management System (NIIMS), dubbed the Huduma Namba, is a National programme for the mandatory registration of all Kenyan citizens and registered foreigners resident in Kenya that was established by the Amendment of Registration of Persons Act Sec. 9A. To register, Kenyans and foreigners need an identification document (ID/Passport) and to also register their biometrics. This will result in them getting a Huduma Card.

According to the CS, Government officers will take longer to serve you. “If for some reason that a person feels they do not want to register, it’s unfortunate because at some point, one will need services from the Government. If you do not have a Huduma Namba, you will not be denied the service, what will happen is that Government officers will take longer to serve you.” He said.

He also added that those with the Huduma Namba will be served faster than those without. “Why would any person want to waste time seeking a service? Is there a need for anyone to be asked to come after a week because his/her file cannot be traced whilst whatever service s/he is seeking can be provided within a short time if they have a Huduma Namba?” He added.

The Nubian Rights Forum, Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC) and the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) recently took various institutions of Government to court over the Huduma Namba. The court then went ahead to issue an injuction against the implementation. In summary, the court said;

1. DNA will not be collected pending the hearing.
2. The remaining identifiers shall continue to apply and be collected.
3. GPS shall not be collected pending application
4. Collection of data under NIIMS is allowed
5. The collection will be optional for citizens, no deadlines for collection, no denying any unregistered persons govt services, they can’t share any personal data with any persons.

It is clear that Dr. Matiang’i stand on the Huduma Namba issue are a double speak and is designed to scare Kenyans into registering in the new initiative. It cleverly sidesteps the recent court ruling which among others said that the Government cannot force Kenyans to apply for it.