The Kenyan Government plans to introduce a new bill that will make the registration of the controversial Huduma Number mandatory for people living in Kenya.
The new bill is called Huduma Bill 2019 and and will lead to Kenyans getting a unique personal identification number and every person living in Kenya will be required to apply for it. According to the bill, the Huduma Namba will serve as proof for identification for residents in the country.
The new bill creates NIIMS (National Integrated Identity Management System) database which will contain all the data collected for residents in Kenya. It will also come with a unique personal number i.e. Huduma Namba and a Huduma Card.
Kenyan residents will need the Huduma Namba to access public services that include:
- Be issued with a passport
- Apply for a driving license
- Register for a mobile number
- Register as a voter
- Pay taxes
- Transact in the financial markets
- Open a bank account
- Register a company or NGO
- Transfer or make land dealings
- Register for an electricity connection
- Access health care services
- Register a marriage
- Enrol in a public school
- Car registration
The registration of the Huduma Namba will be mandatory for all Kenyans aged 6 and above and foreign nationals living in Kenya. It will see Kenyans submitting their fingerprints and other biometric data to be registered. Minors will need to apply for an adult Huduma Namba once they turn 18.
The Huduma Namba will come with a Huduma Card which will have the holder’s details that include;
- full name
- date of birth
- Huduma Namba
- place of birth
- front facing photograph
- date of issue
The bill also has a birth registration element. All Kenyans will need to register their new born children on the service regardless of where they are born. The service will also issue birth certificates. Deaths will also registered on the service as well after which a death certificate will be issued. Passport application will also be done through NIIMS.
According to the bill, the NIIMS database will be stored in Kenya and the data willbe protected by a data protection officer appointed by the principal secretary in charge.
The Kenyan Government had been registering Kenyans for the Huduma Namba after an amendment was made to the Registration of Persons Act Sec. 9A. It made Huduma Namba mandatory for all Kenyan citizens and foreigners resident in Kenya. The new law however ran into headwinds after a case was filed opposing it. The Nubian Rights Forum, Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC) and the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) filed a case over the Huduma Namba. and they got an injuction that declared registration of the Huduma Namba was not mandatory until the case was heard.
Registration for Huduma Namba continued despite the court case with Kenyan residents and Kenyans abroad registering for it. In the wake of the court case, Interior Cabinet Secretary Dr. Fred Matiang’i declared that the Government would 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 proposed Huduma law will be under the Ministry for Interior and Coordination of National Government and the ministry has called for views and proposals on the draft bill. The Ministry has organized an open public forum for public participation on 31st July, 2019 at the Kenya School of Government, Lower Kabete Campus.
Additional public participation is available through written submissions that should be made by August 2nd 2019. They can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org or be delivered to the following offices:
- Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government Offices at Harambee House 4th Floor
- Any Deputy County Commissioner’s Offices in the 47 counties
- Huduma Namba Secretariat, 21st Floor, Teleposta Towers.
You can find the draft Huduma Bill here.