- Garissa is not ready for Maisha Namba owing to its poor infrastructure and network
- Julius Bitok last month postponed the launch of Maisha Namba
Garissa activists and residents have urged the government to cancel the launch of Maisha Namba, saying it will isolate the region.
Led by Anab Abdullahi, the residents said Garissa is not ready for Maisha Namba owing to its poor infrastructure and network.
She said the residents' nomadic culture will also make it difficult for them to use the Maisha Namba.
Anab spoke during a two day rights sensitisation workshop organised by Haki na Sheria NGO.
“My appeal to the government is to kindly reconsider this digital system. As we speak, most areas in Garissa, especially the rural areas either have very poor networks or do not have networks at all," she said.
"We know very well that for this system to work it largely depend on the availability of a stable network."
Aden Abdullahi, a rights activist, accused the government of backtracking on its promise to do away with vetting for persons seeking identification cards.
Abdullahi who is also a students leader at Garissa University said rogue government officials were using the vetting exercise to demand bribes.
“The Kenya Kwanza government seems to have forgotten it promised to make the process of acquiring an ID card, birth certificate and passports less tedious for our people," he said.
"We are the same as other Kenyans who pay taxes. We should not be treated like second class citizens."
"Unfortunately one year down the we are still experiencing the same difficulties. Right now they have come up with Maisha Number which by the look of things will be another problem for us,” said Abdullahi.
He urged local leaders to speak out and against injustices on the residents.
Samwel Nyandoro urged the government to open up more mobile birth certificate registration centers for pastoralists who keep on moving with their animals.
So far only Garissa and Ijara have civil registration offices.
“People are still covering hundreds of kilomteres from the rural parts in search of birth certificates. This should not be happening in this day and age. The government should serve its people and make their lives easy,” he said.
Haki Na Sheria's Programmes manager Khasida Abdullahi, said vetting continues to be a big hurdle for the community.
"As an organisation, we will continue to empower our communities on their rights and also call for easy access documentation services," she said.
Immigration and Citizen Services Principal Secretary Julius Bitok last month postponed the launch of Maisha Namba.
The number was expected to replace the current identity cards for all Kenyans and will serve as Unique Personal Identifier.
Last month, activists expressed concern over the roll out of Maisha number saying it has no difference with the Huduma number which was declared unconstitutional by High Court in October 221.
In a letter, the activists urged the government ensure that Kenyans have access to critical documentations like birth certificates and IDs.
They also want the government to take adequate data protection measures and adhere to the law to create the digital identity system.