Debunking myths about upcoming biometric mass registration

January 31, 2019 4:53 pm
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A pilot registration exercise is set to start in mid-February to cover 15 counties, during which the government is set to take note of any imminent challenges/FILE

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 31 – The taxpayer is set to finance the forthcoming biometric mass registration to a tune of Sh5-6 billion during the exercise set to kick off on March 15.

A pilot registration exercise is set to start in mid-February to cover 15 counties, during which the government is set to take note of any imminent challenges.

The registration will cover all Kenyans and foreigners living in the country.

Some 50,000 registration officials are set to be attached to various assistant chiefs’ offices to carry out the task that will see Kenya have a National Integrated Identity Management System (NIIMS).

Already, the government has acquired 35,000 biometric registration kits that will be used to capture the required data.

Once registered, a person will be given a Huduma Namba (unique number) that one will be required to use while accessing government services.

Huduma Namba is a programme which was initiated through Executive Order No. 1 of 2018 to create and manage a Central Master Population Register which will be the authentic ‘source of truth’ of identity of all people residing in Kenya.

Interior Principal Secretary Karanja Kibicho on Thursday sought to set the records straight about the exercise that has attracted mixed reactions from a section of Kenyans, among them human right groups.

Does the government require your DNA? The response Kibicho gave was a big “no!”

“As a government, we want to collapse all the information into a single source of truth. You will only have two documents; one is that is the single source of truth and your passport,” the PS said.

– The data you must give –

For one to be registered, the government will require at least an identification document; this can either be a birth certificate, ID card, driving licence or the Kenya Revenue Authority PIN.

A person registering will be required to provide a digital picture, give his name, gender, date of birth, age, citizenship, information about parents or guardians, place of birth, phone number, email address, physical and permanent residence and marital status.

Kibicho said persons will also be required to say whether he is physically challenged or not. “This data will be used for planning purposes.”

The government will also capture fingerprints and demographic data.

Among the benefits of having a Huduma Namba are easy access to government services, coordinated registration of people, it will address duplication in registration and reduce operational costs, detect and prevent fraud, impersonation or any other crime.

“In this country, fingerprints do not necessarily match with the face because of history where such exercises were infiltrated,” the PS pointed out.

The Huduma Namba, he said will also help the government make informed decisions when allocating resources.

Other than enhancing service delivery, it will also enhance the crime watch in the country facing threats of terror.

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