, NAIROBI, Kenya, May 18 – The long queues witnessed countrywide on Friday as Kenyans raced against time to register for Huduma Namba seem to have vanished following the extension announced by President Uhuru Kenyatta by a week.
Unlike on Friday when hundreds or even thousands in other areas queued to be listed, only a handful were on queues on Saturday after learning that they have a week to register.
“I knew they will add us more time that is why I was in no hurry,” Robert Masenge said, as he queued at a registration centre at Nyayo House.
Harrison Thuita, who spoke to Capital FM at Westlands centre said “I didn’t know how much time they were to add but it was inevitable.”
Another one who only identified himself as Munif said “it clicked my mind that they had to extend because the centres were very few and not everybody could manage to be enlisted. Actually, the Government should extend the time much further so that everybody can register.”
The extension announcement was made on Friday night by President Uhuru Kenyatta who said the exercise will not run until May 25 at 6pm.
“I would like to commend and appreciate the commitment and patience of the 35million Kenyans who have registered so far,” President Kenyatta said in a televised address, and revealed that 35 million Kenyans had been listed so far under the National Integrated Identity Management System. The exercise started 45 days ago.
While the Government has spent millions of taxpayer’s money in awareness campaigns, many still say they don’t see the need of having a Huduma Namba with the only motivating factor being the fear of unknown.
“We are just doing it for the sake of it without a proper reason. It would be good if the Government enhances the campaign so that we can know its benefit,” Munif said.
Robert Mutinda was just convinced 24 hours ago since all along he knew the number is demonic. “I thought the number is related to 666 which is satanic.”
For one to be registered, clerks require at least a government issued identification document which can either be a birth certificate, National Identity Card, Driving License or the Kenya Revenue Authority PIN.
The applicant then fills out a form with all their details before being photographed and fingerprinted.
Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiangi said some of the benefits of having a Huduma Namba are easy access to government services, coordinated registration of people.
“We won’t force you to register just like we did never force you to acquire a Kenya Revenue Authority PIN,” Matiangi said earlier in the week, “you only need to be smart to know why you need this Huduma Namba.”
He also explained that it will address duplication in registration of persons and reduce operational costs, detect and prevent fraud, impersonation or any other crime.
A High Court ruling on April 1 had rendered Huduma Namba registration non-mandatory with Justices Weldon Korir, Pauline Nyamweya and Mumbi Ngugi ruling the government should not withhold services from persons who may not be registered on NIIMS.