Kenya:Government’s Biometric registration project faces strong opposition

Kenya:Government’s Biometric registration project faces strong opposition

By Samuel Ouma | @journalist_27

The Kshs.6 billion ($600million) Biometric registration project initiated by the government risk being halted due to tough opposition.

Kenya Human Rights Commission has moved to court challenging the pilot programme of the National Integrated Identity Management System (NIIMS) christened ‘Huduma namba’ (service number).

The group argued the public is not involved in the amendment of Miscellaneous Act 2018. The Acts defines the process of issuance, production and inspection of Identity cards among other requirements that go in line with general guidelines for registration of persons.

“Miscellaneous Amendments do not give room for facilitating public involvement. National Integrated Identity Management System will have a substantial effect on individuals once implemented, hence ought to have been subjected to public participation,” the statement reads in part.

The lobby said the biometric registration will make the government access people’s DNA data without consent which will infringe on the rights of privacy.

It further added that Huduma namba functions the same way like the Integrated Population Registration System.

The case will be heard on February 21

Elsewhere, the opposition strategist and the economic columnist David Ndii has asked Kenyans to reject the calls of the government to register them for a digital database. He rejected the initiative noting that the government should concentrate on bettering the livelihoods of Kenyans.

“Custody of citizen registration data is governed by this law,” he wrote on his twitter page.

He claimed the government has failed to operationalize the Act for fear of losing the control of the voter register.

Resistance comes barely two days after the project was rolled out in fifteen counties and a mass roll out will be on March 15. The project targets everyone above six years old. The project is believed to be helpful in guard against impersonation, fraud, ease access to public services and unauthorized entry into the country.

The government plans to use the initiative to channel resources to school children, the disabled, and elderly among others.

The registration is free and the documents needed are the Identity card or Birth Certificate or Driving license. The exercise will run for the next 30 days.

 

 

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