Be wary of conspiracy theorists; Govt. cautions over Huduma Namba row

The government has moved to dispel fears of possible manipulation of data during the second phase of Huduma Namba registration exercise in the wake of reservations by a section of the political class.

In a statement, principal secretary at the office of the president Moffat Kangi said the planned exercise is meant to capture data of those who missed out during the mass registration that concluded on  May 25, 2019 even as he called on Kenyans to be wary of what he terms as misinformation, disinformation, and conspiracy theories propagated about Huduma Namba.

Kangi saying the move by the government to implement the National Integrated Identity Management System was advised by the need to secure critical data following increased cases of persons posing as Kenyans or using Kenyan documents to commit crime, fraud, and massive forgery.

“It is against this backdrop that the government conceptualized the National Integrated Identity Management System (NIIMS), a modern integrated database that would capture the biometric data and other information of all Kenyans and foreign nationals living in the country.” Reads the statement.

Over the years, Kenya’s population databases have been existing in paper-based records and silos, a challenge that has had detrimental impacts on service delivery and left the citizens’ personal information vulnerable to the emerging security threats

Kangi says over 90 percent of the datasets collected from the 37 million Kenyans during the mass registration exercise have been cleaned up and matched, with mass production of Huduma Cards set to begin by the end of the year.

“Owing to the sensitivity and criticality of the data, the government made an executive decision to task the Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government with the printing and issuance of Huduma Cards. “Kingi notes.

The government says the process of issuing the cards was slowed down by the case filed at the High Court ruling through the consolidated Petitions No. 56, 58 and 59 of 2019.

In its ruling, the court directed that the government rolls out the system on condition that an “appropriate and comprehensive regulatory framework on the implementation of NIIMS that is compliant with the applicable constitutional requirements” is first enacted.

Kangi saying a state-of-the-art data centre has been created and a well-planned redundancy design and mission-critical applications contrived to ensure zero downtime and secure the data centre environment even in worst case scenarios.

According to Kangi, the Ministries of Interior & Coordination of National Government and Information, Communication and Technology have drafted The Data Protection (Civil Registration) Regulations, 2020 and The Registration of Persons (National Integrated Identity Management System) Regulations, 2020 as directed by the Court.

“After comprehensive public participation, a pre-publication scrutiny of the two statutory instruments has been held with the Parliamentary Committee on Delegated Legislation preparatory to their enactment into laws.” He says.

Mass production of Huduma Cards is set to begin by the end of this year

The assurance coming amid mounting pressure on the government to shed more light on the system after it announced plans to roll out the second phase of registration for those who missed out during last year’s mass registration.

Kangi says database logistics and the software for NIIMS are 100 percent Kenyan government funded, designed, and developed, and solely managed by Kenyans and that no single component of the implementation process is handled by foreigners

Over 40 legislators had on Thursday alleged of a scheme to manipulate data through Huduma number for political reasons.

The legislators claiming that expatriates had been procured privately to steer the second phase of the programme questioning what they said was secrecy clouding the registration, which ordinarily would be subjected to public procurement.

  

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