Kenyan President William Ruto has now said that the launch of Maisha Namba will be in December 2023. The president states that the digital ID system is currently in a 2 months testing phase. He promised the universal use of the digital ID that will verify Kenyans’ identity via smart devices. “every Kenya will not have to carry any paper, plastic or otherwise as an ID” said President Ruto.
The president stated that in the new system, biometric data will be used as a digital ID. Kenyans will be able to use their iris or fingerprints when carrying out transactions that require identity verification. Use of an individual’s iris stands out particularly after the public uproar surrounding Worldcoin.
Maisha Namba was set to be launched on the 1st of October. The event was to be graced by President Ruto and was to take place in Nakuru County. However, the government quickly cancelled the launch, the same day it was announced. No reasons were given for the indefinite postponement.
At the launch of the Kenyan-assembled Smartphones, the president promised the last month of the year. He did not give an exact date. Plans to launch a digital ID in the country have faced numerous setbacks in the past including court injunctions. It remains to be seen if December will be a month where the promise is finally kept
Maisha Namba is the proposed identification system. It is a lifelong unique identification number to be issued at birth and a Maisha Card that will replace the current 2nd generation ID.
For current ID holders, their ID number will translate to Maisha Namba guaranteeing a smooth transition to a Maisha card whose superior features support a virtual ID, unlike the current IDs.