Protect data from Huduma Namba misuse – Kalonzo, Weta

Both registered in NIIMS while urging caution and demanding legislation to safeguard citizens' information

In Summary

• Kenya has no data protection law and urgently needs one, say Kalonzo and Wetang'ula. 

• The two launched Huduma Nama registration in Murang’a town and said Kenyans are entrusting  government with a lot of information that can be misused by governmentofficials or criminals

Wiper Leader Kalonzo Musyoka registering for the huduma number at Ihura stadium in Murang'a town.
Wiper Leader Kalonzo Musyoka registering for the huduma number at Ihura stadium in Murang'a town.
Image: Alice Waithera

Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka and Ford Kenya boss Moses Wetang'ula have tasked the government to draft a bill protecting data taken from Kenyans through the Huduma Namba.

The two opposition leaders launched the registration in Murang’a town on Tuesday. They said Kenyans are entrusting the government with a lot of information that can be misused by corrupt government officials and criminals.

Bungoma Senator Wetang'ula said the legislation is urgent.

The High Court, he said, had stopped the government from taking DNA and GPS location details from Kenyans because there is no proper legal framework protecting the information. The full case will be heard on April 30.

“In Kenya, we do not have a data protection law and that should be put in place as soon as possible,” he said.

Wetang'ula also asked that those who don't get a Huduma Namba will not be denied government services and they will have ample time to register.

Kalonzo said biometric registration of Kenyans in the National Integrated identity Management Systems was hatched during the Moi era and incubated through successive regimes.

He said once a data protection law is put in place, Kenyans will be able to live in a transparent country.

He said the system will remove the need for a voter registration drive before every general election as the government will already have everyone’s details.

He hit criticised leaders opposed to the system, saying their fears are not based on facts.

“How can someone oppose something that is being supported by all opposition leaders?” he asked.

Kalonzo reiterated the need for the government to incorporate county governments in the registration.

The counties have been able to use their ward and subcounty administrators to devolved units, he noted, have been able to carry out local operations and can make the process easier.

“When all these people work together with the help of the church and community volunteers, the registration will be concluded with ease,” Kalonzo said.

He tried to allay fears that biometric registration had a hidden agenda, saying as a man of strong Christian faith, he would not have supported it if there were sinister motives.

Murang’a governor Mwangi Wa Iria said the Huduma number would consolidate all the other numbers Kenyans have, including birth certificates and identity card numbers.

Wa Iria said his administration has just concluded registration of 300,000 small-scale farmers who have started receiving free maize seeds.

From next week, he said, a similar registration will be carried out to record farmers who will receive free avocado seedlings.

“If we can conduct such exercises in four days, what is a million in two weeks?’ he asked.

Gatanga MP Joseph Nduati urged all Murang’ residents to come out in large numbers and egister.

Cabinet secretaries Rachel Omamo (Defence and James Macharia (Transport and Infrastructure), Water PS Joseph Wairagu, former Machakos Senator Johnsone Muthama, former Machakos governor contestant Wavinya Ndeti attended.

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