Kenyans will not be forced to register for the new digital Identity Cards dubbed Maisha card.
Speaking in Nakuru during celebrations to mark the World ID Day, Citizen Services PS Julius Bitok said the new registration system that also includes a birth-to-death unique identification number to be known as Maisha Namba will not be compulsory.
“I want to assure Kenyans that no one will be forced to take up Maisha Card. The current IDs will continue to be recognized as valid identification document alongside the new card,” Bitok stated.
He however said the new card will include superior security and technology features.
Unlike the current IDs, it will also support a digital ID mode of identification and thebcurrent ID number will transit to Maisha Namba.
All newborns and those registering for IDs for the first time will be issued with a lifetime Maisha Namba that will be the registration number for school, NHIF KRA and other government services.
Bitok also allayed fears that the new ID that is being introduced to comply with international standards of identification will burden Kenyans saying existing ID holders will not be subjected to fresh registration for biometrics.
“We want to make the transition as seamless and convenient as possible. We foresee 3-5 years phase out of current IDs. But we are confident many Kenyans will embrace Maisha Card because of the benefits it will give them,” said Bitok.
The system will also have optional Digital ID, which will be a digital version of one national ID, available online and recognised as valid proof of identity.
“Kenya is a member of the East Africa Common Market Protocol that promotes electronic national ID cards conforming to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) standards for travel documents,” he said.
Also proposed is a National Master Population Register that will consolidate existing and independent data bases into a single integrated register for all data on Kenyans and foreigners resident in the country.
Kenya joined the rest of the globe in marking World ID Day with mass registrations for birth certificates, national ID cards and passports in Nakuru county.
The event held on Saturday at Nyayo Gardens was also turned into a public awareness forum on the proposed digital ID also known as the Maisha Card.
The ID Day is an ID4AFRICA initiative for the recognition of September 16th as a global ID day.
The choice of the date symbolically represents the United Nations sustainable development goal (SDG) 16:9 which calls for legal identity for all by 2030.