NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 2 – Orange Party leader Raila Odinga has lauded government’s initiative to enlist all citizens on a digital platform dubbed Huduma Number saying the creation of the new database will enhance service delivery.
Odinga who spoke during the rollout of the registration exercise in Likoni, Mombasa County, said the integrated identity register will enable the government serve the citizenry better.
“For the first time the government has acknowledged the need to know how many people live in the country who need to be served. This is the essence of giving Huduma Numbers so that the government can offer better services,” he said on Tuesday.
The former Prime Minister faulted lobby groups raising objection to the creation of the National Integrated Identification Management System (NIIMS).
He also criticised Monday’s ruling by a three-judge bench of the High Court restraining the government forcing Kenyans to register on the new database pending determination of a suit.
“I know those who rushed to court did not understand the important of NIIMS. If there’s anything that should be compulsory is this registration exercise and that is the verdict I’d have given if I was a judge. The court has not understood this matter,” Odinga told Likoni residents at the Shika Adabu Chief’s Camp where he was accompanied by ICT Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru and a host of local leaders.
Justices Weldon Korir, Pauline Nyamweya and Mumbi Ngugi barred the government from withholding any service to persons who may not register in the ongoing digital listing pending determination of a suit challenging the rollout of NIIMS.
The verdict inadvertently rendered the exercise non-obligatory with no clear timeline within which citizens are to enlist on NIIMS.
Section 6 of the Registration of Persons Act (CAP 107) only provides for mandatory listing of adults who have attained the age of eighteen years within ninety days failure to which a person is liable to a fine not exceeding Sh15,000 under Section 14 of the Act.
“If any person contravenes any of the provisions of this Act or of any rules made thereunder or with any lawful demand or requirement made under this Act or under such rules, he shall be guilty of an offence and where no other penalty is specifically provided liable to a fine not exceeding fifty thousand shillings or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two months or to both, and in any case where a person has been convicted of an offence involving failure to register under this Act the court may, in addition to or in substitution for any sentence which it may impose upon that person under this section, order him to register himself within such period as it may specify,” Section 14 (2) of the Registration Act provides.