Court Declares Huduma Namba Rollout Illegal

  • Undated Photo of President Uhuru Kenyatta and First lady Holding Huduma Namba
    Undated Photo of President Uhuru Kenyatta and First lady Holding Huduma Namba
    PSCU
  • President Uhuru Kenyatta's government has suffered another huge blow after the High Court sitting in Nairobi declared the Huduma Namba roll out unconstitutional.

    According to the judgment delivered on Thursday, October 14, the court established that the rollout contravened the Data Protection Act 2019.

    Making the judgment, Justice Jairus Ngaah, directed the government to conduct a data protection impact assessment in accordance with Section 31 of the Act as the cards have already been rolled out.

    President Uhuru Kenyatta speaks to a delegation at United Nations office in New York on Tuesday, October 12, 2021.
    President Uhuru Kenyatta speaks to a delegation at the United Nations office in New York on Tuesday, October 12, 2021.
    PSCU

    “An order is hereby issued quashing the government decision of November 18, 2020, to roll out Huduma cards for being ultra vires of the data protection act 2019,” Ngaah ruled.

    Justice Ngaah, however, rejected the move to scrap off Huduma Namba in totality.

    “Order of mandamus is hereby issued compelling the government to conduct a data protection impact assessment in accordance with section 31 of the data protection act before processing of data and rolling out the Huduma cards,” the Judge ordered.

    The case was filed by Katiba Institute in a bid to stop the further rollout of the cards. They argued that the government did not put in place data protection measures before starting the process.

    They further argued in their court papers that the rolling out of Huduma Namba failed to honour a court ruling issued in 2020.

    “The Data Protection Act rights to privacy were guaranteed the moment the constitution was promulgated,” they argued.

    The issuance of Huduma cards is a project that was launched by President Uhuru Kenyatta's government and fully initiated back in 2015 within the framework of the National Integrated Identity Management System (NIIMS).

    The government has been accused of subjecting citizens to forced registration with threats of missing some services without the card.

    ICT Cabinet Secretary, Joe Mucheru, had even announced that National Identification Cards will be phased out by December this year and replaced by the Huduma Namba card.

    A person holding the new Huduma Namba Card unveiled on Tuesday, October 20, 2020.
    A person holding the new Huduma Namba Card unveiled on Tuesday, October 20, 2020.
    File