Printing of Huduma cards underway ahead of deadline

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Interior Ministry CS Fred Matiangi. [File, Standard]

Kenyans should brace for a change in identification this year as the Government officially commences printing of Huduma Namba cards.

This is in line with President Uhuru Kenyatta’s directive that December 12, 2021 is the deadline to phase out the current National Identification Card (ID card) which will be replaced by the Huduma Namba cards.

Yesterday, Interior ministry told Kenyans who applied for Huduma Namba that they will soon start receiving short message notifications on their mobile phones to collect their cards.

A tweet by the Interior Ministry stated: “UPDATE: Mass printing of Huduma Namba cards is underway. If you registered, you will soon receive an SMS notification prompting you when and where to collect yours.”

According to government figures, by May 2019, more than 38 million people had been registered for the cards in the Sh9.6 billion exercise.

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A sample of the new Identity card. [File, Standard]

The Huduma card shall serve as the official document for identification and conducting transactions.

The appointment of Data Commissioner Immaculate Kassait last year also paved way for the national rollout in compliance with the court’s directive.

The Data Protection Act 2019, gives the commissioner powers on the investigation of data breaches. These include powers of entry and search and issuing administrative fines.

The law stipulates: “Where personal data has been accessed or acquired by an unauthorised person, and there is a real risk of harm to the owner of this data, a data controller is required to notify the commissioner.”

The nationwide rollout of Huduma Namba Card distribution exercise was scheduled to kick off last month according to Information Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru and Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i, but this was not the case.

Principal Secretary Karanja Kibicho nonetheless remained optimistic that they are well on course to meet the set deadline.

Dr Kibicho who spoke when he toured the ongoing exercise at the Government Printer, exuded confidence that they are making steady progress on the operationalisation of the National Integrated Identity Management System.

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