Give Huduma Namba legal backing


Huduma Namba registration in May 2019. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NMG

The government’s plan to abolish the national identity card by the end of next year must be done in accordance with the law.

It is envisaged that the upcoming Huduma Namba cards will be the new form of identification, allowing citizens to access various services from the government and licensed private entities, including banks.

But as the President of the Law of Society of Kenya Nelson Havi pointed out, the identity card retains the backing of the law under Section 9 of the Registration of Persons Act.

This implies that both documents can be used concurrently going forward. If the government is still keen on doing away with the national identity card, it should do so by repealing the laws acknowledging it.

Failure to do this will cause confusion and invite legal challenges.

Even more importantly, the government must ensure that all Kenyans who applied for Huduma Namba cards get the documents before abolishing the identity card.

To this end, the planned rerun of the registration for Huduma Namba needs to be well funded and publicised to cover those who failed to participate in the initial process last year.

Anything less and we risk disenfranchising a substantial part of the populace.