Senate Halts NIIMS Registration After Fred Matiang'i and Joe Mucheru Snub Summons

The recently launched digital registration for Kenyans to get the unique and new forms of identification (Huduma Namba) has been suspended until further notice after the CSs of Interior and ICT failed to appear before the Senate.

Registration programs had been launched in the counties of Nairobi, Uasin Gishu, Kajiado, Baringo, Marsabit, Kisii, Wajir, Kilifi, Tana River, Embu, Makueni, Busia, Nyandarua and Kiambu.

The legislators held that the exercise would only continue after Interior CS Fred Matiang'i and ICT’s Joe Mucheru appeared before the Senate Standing Committee on National Security, Defense, and Foreign Relations on March 11, 2019, and a positive verdict given thereafter.

The government had announced that 31, 500 biometric kits had already been delivered to the counties for the exercise which is expected to improve government data on Kenya’s citizens.

The two CSs snubbed the summons scheduled for Thursday, February 28, choosing instead to send their administrative secretaries to represent them. Their actions left the legislators wondering if they comprehended the importance of the matter to the country.

Legislators sought information on why Parliament was not informed of the intended digital registration of persons before the processes were rolled out.

Specific focus was the appraisal of the CSs on the details of the National Integrated Identity Management System after serious concerns were raised by Kericho Senator Aaron Cheruiyot.

The senator had queried the whole process after seeking clarification on what justifies the digital registration given the amount of personal data of citizens that will be taken by the government.

Attorney General Paul Kihara Kariuki was also slated to appear alongside the two fellow members of the cabinet to answer to questions about the Huduma Namba - which the executive is seemingly lingering about according to parliament.

NIIMS program is set to collect a person’s data including details of age, DNA, gender, level of education, marital status, place of residence, and source of livelihood among others.

Bungoma Senator Moses Wetangula is on record claiming that the entire process lacks legal backing.

He based his argument on the fact that NIIMS was enacted by the National Assembly under the Statute Miscellaneous (Amendment) Bill of 2018 without the participation and input of the Senate.

“The protection of the personal data is sacrosanct. You cannot bring this kind of a bill with far-reaching amendments through the miscellaneous bill, more so without the input of the Senate. NIIMS must be suspended,” he stated.