- The cards are also expected to help reduce fraud and corruption and improve efficiency.
- Kenyans replacing their lost or damaged IDs will not will not be issued with the second generation cards but with the Maisha Card.
The High Court has suspended the registration and issuance of the new digital cards touted by President William Ruto.
President Ruto was set to launch the third-generation identity cards also known as Maisha cards by the end of the year.
The government announced that the objective of the new cards is to ensure that citizens have easy access to public and private sector services, even from the comfort of their homes.
Cabinet Secretary for Information, Communication and Digital Economy Eliud Owalo September pointed out that it will be up to Kenyans to choose whether they want to sign up for the digital ID programme or not.
“We will not force any Kenyan to take a digital identity. The onus will be on you to decide whether or not you want to get government services through your digital identity or you want to visit government offices physically,” he explained.
The digital identity system is expected to provide Kenyans with a secure and reliable way to verify their identity for various purposes, including accessing government services, opening bank accounts and traveling.
The cards are also expected to help reduce fraud and corruption and improve efficiency.
State Department for Immigration and Citizen Services PS Julius Bitok said the government will not require fresh biometrics of Kenyans seeking the cards.
“We have transitioned from Huduma Namba to Maisha Card. I want to point out that we will not go back to Kenyans for biometrics because we will use the existing database,” he explained.
He said Kenyans replacing their lost or damaged IDs will not be issued with the second generation cards but with the Maisha Card.
The PS said it will take between two to three years to transition to the new cards, which will cost the government Sh1 billion to roll out.
“About 1.5 million IDs are replaced annually. Those replacing their lost or damaged IDs will get Maisha Cards,” he told a press briefing on Monday.
The cards will have a Unique Personal Identifier (UPI) or Maisha Namba which is a replacement for the scuttled Huduma Namba.
Maisha Namba will be a number that will replace the current birth entry number which is currently issued with birth certificates.
Maisha Namba will be the reference number for future identity for all subsequent stages: school, national ID and KRA pin.
As the child grows and reaches the age of 18, the UPI seamlessly transitions into their official national identity number.
The UPI will also serve as the child’s National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) number, the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) number, driving license number, and ultimately, the death certificate number.
The UPI can be used as the school admission number as well as the index number for national examinations.
A Memorandum of Understanding has been signed between Kenya and the United Nation’s Development Programme to support the country’s digital identity programme.
By implementing an effective digital ID system and securely storing personal information, the government seeks to unlock a world of benefits for its citizens.
On June 30 this year, the government gave a directive to the Ministry of Interior and Ministry of Information and Communication Technology and Digital Economy to come up with a digital identity system within 90 days.
Huduma Namba had harmonised several registrations into one identification number, including the registration and replacement of ID cards, application and renewal of driving license, registration for passport, registration for NHIF and NSSF cards and registration for birth and death certificates.