Court allows Huduma Namba implementation, bars DNA, GPS data collection

FILE PHOTO: Huduma Namba registration kit.
FILE PHOTO: Huduma Namba registration kit.

The High Court has given the government a go-ahead to implement the National Integrated Identity Management System (NIIMS), popularly known as the Huduma Namba.

A three-judge bench comprising justices Pauline Nyamweya, Mumbi Ngugi and Weldon Korir ruled that introduction of the Huduma Namba was lawful, but its implementation must be done under a comprehensive regulatory framework.

The NIIMS is a government controlled digital platform seeking to digitise and centralise records of all citizens and foreigners in Kenya.

The court, however, ruled that collection of DNA and GPS data as had earlier been suggested is “intrusive and unnecessary,” declaring it as unconstitutional.

“Collection of DNA & GPS for purposes of identification is intrusive and unnecessary to the extent it is not authorized by anchoring legislation is unconstitutional,” ruled the court.

The three-judge bench declared the sub-sections that required collection of DNA and GPS information as null and void, noting that they were in conflict with the Constitution.

The ruling was made following petitions filed by the Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC), the Nubian Rights Forum and the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNHCR) which were consolidated.

The cases were challenging the constitutionality of the Huduma Namba system.

Interior PS Karaja Kibicho, while testifying in the case last year, defended the Huduma Namba saying it would curb adulteration of data as captured in the national population record.

“We have had cases of people sharing identity card numbers and in many cases, non-Kenyans who have the documents. The system will cure all these,” he said.

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