Court allows Huduma Namba registration, bars DNA collection


File image of government officers registering for NIIMS.
File image of government officers registering for NIIMS.

The High Court has allowed the government to roll out the National Integrated Identity Management System (NIIMS), also known as Huduma Namba, beginning Tuesday, April 2 as had been earlier planned.

A three-judge bench comprising Justices Weldon Korir, Pauline Nyamweya and Mumbi Ngugi, however, ruled that the government should not make the exercise mandatory or issue deadlines for the collection of NIIMS data.

The government was also barred from collecting DNA data and GPS coordinates as part of the NIIMS data, pending  determination of the case challenging the exercise. The court also barred the government from sharing the NIIMS information with any foreign organization.

In a move that had sparked public uproar, the government had said no Kenyan would receive government services, nor obtain an ID, passport, driving license or even a birth certificate without first registering on the National Integrated Identity Management System (NIIMS).

The Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC), Nubian Rights Forum, and the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNHCR) filed separate cases challenging the NIIMS programme on grounds that Kenya has no legislation on data protection.

President Uhuru Kenyatta will launch the NIIMS programme in Machakos County while his deputy William Ruto and Opposition leader Raila Odinga will roll out the system in Kakamega and Mombasa respectively.

Wiper Party leader Kalonzo Musyoka will be in Murang’a County and Musalia Mudavadi in Kajiado to launch the same.

NIIMS, which will capture data for persons from the age of 6, will create and manage a central master population register.

This, the government says will be the authentic source of truth of identity of all persons residing in Kenya including foreigners.

Each NIIMS registration will generate a unique number to be known as a Huduma Namba.

The purpose of Huduma Namba will be to assign a personal unique identification to facilitate government services after capturing bio-metric data of all citizens and foreigners.

Additional reporting by Benjamin Muriuki

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