State House says Huduma Namba card not linked to MasterCard


State House Chief Staff Nzioka Waita has dismissed reports that the Huduma Namba card is linked to MasterCard, a leading global payments and technology company.

Mr. Waita was responding to an article on Al Jazeera claiming that there is a deal between the Kenyan government and MasterCard to link the Huduma Namba to a prepaid card with chip and pin that will be used by citizens to pay for various government services.

“This is false information & a case of poor journalism by @Al Jazeera, they should simply ask @InteriorKE to clarify any gaps in information that they may have had. There is no MasterCard linked to the @hudumanambake they are confusing with payment option for @HudumaKenya services,” wrote Waita on Twitter.

In the article titled; If you are a Kenyan citizen, your private data is not safe, political analyst and author Nanjala Nyabola described the Huduma Namba as “yet another assault on data privacy in Kenya.”

“Further digging reveals the government has done a deal with MasterCard to link the Huduma number to a prepaid card with chip and pin that will be used by citizens to pay for an array of government services. The government denies that the two initiatives are connected, but given similar initiatives in countries like Nigeria, there is credible fear that the initiatives will eventually be combined,” claimed Ms. Nyabola.

She added: “As it stands, if you are Kenyan, your data is not secure or safe, especially not from a government that has routinely avoided creating a legal framework to at least give citizens some form of recourse when violations happen.

This Huduma number is an ill-timed, ill-advised initiative that should be suspended until further public participation and consultation occur.”

On the issue of safety of the data Kenyans will submit to register for the Huduma Namba, Waita says the process is underway to formulate a data protection law in Kenya.

“There is a data protection bill under discussion so it’s a journey & we shall get there,” wrote Waita.

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