Court frees State to roll out Maisha Namba


Registration for Huduma Namba at the Mombasa Huduma Centre. Maisha Namba is intended to replace the stalled attempt to introduce the Huduma Namba. File  | Nation Media Group

Kenya's Kwanza government is now free to roll out the new digital identity cards, popularly known as Maisha Namba, after the High Court lifted a December order blocking their implementation.

High Court judge John Chigiti had stopped the Ministry of Home Affairs from rolling out the Maisha Namba pending the determination of a petition filed by the Katiba Institute.

The court on Friday lifted the order and transferred the case from the Judicial Review Court, where it had been filed, to the Constitutional Division of the High Court.

Maisha Namba has been described as a third-generation ID that includes a digital card, a unique personal identifier and a national master population register.

The NGO has challenged the roll-out, arguing that the government does not have the legal basis to implement it.

The organisation also argues that there has been no privacy impact assessment and that the rollout is taking place without meaningful public participation or publication of key information about the rollout.

The Maisha Namba is intended to replace the stalled attempt to introduce the Huduma Namba.

According to the organisation, the High Court has twice ruled that Section 31 of the Data Protection Act requires the government to conduct a privacy impact assessment before processing data required for digital identification.

The NGO argues that the Maisha Namba, like the Huduma Namba, requires Kenyans to provide biographical and biometric information, including date of birth, gender, facial image, ancestry and contact details.

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