A few weeks ago, Kenyans bitterly opposed the then compulsory exercise involving Huduma Namba registration that was defended by the government as the best solution for it to render services to the people. At that time, the issue at hand was that Kenyans had already given too much personal information to the State, and another exercise to resubmit personal details to the government, as well as DNA and biometrics data was something that a lot of people were going to do. The registration process was effectively halted after lobbyist went to court to have the entire exercise thrown away.
Now, the High Court of Kenya deliberated the case for the better part of the day, and its ruling is out.
To begin with, the registration will continue as scheduled, but a number of amendments have been introduced. People who are interested in acquiring the number will no longer be tasked to submit DNA data or GPS information.
We say ‘people who will be interested’ because the registration is no longer mandatory.
The court has also advised the State not to link any government service to Huduma Namba because it will indirectly force people to acquire the number in the long run.
Remember when registration exercises were limited to a deadline, and Kenyans rushed to take part in them on the last days? This will no longer be the case with Huduma Namba.
The new database under the NIIMS platform was supposed to be replenished by the registration exercise. We are not sure which route the project will take as the ruling is obviously going to set it back.
Finally, no development has been communicated about the relationship between Huduma Namba and MasterCard-powered Huduma Card amid speculations that the two systems were related – although the state denied such a thing.