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During her vetting, Kassait assured Kenyans that she will guarantee the protection of their data and fight against cybercrime across the country if she gets the job/CFM/FILE

Kenya

Kassait to be sworn in as Data Commissioner after House approval

NAROBI, Kenya Nov 6 – Immaculate Kassait is set to be formally appointed by President Uhuru Kenyatta as Kenya’s first Data Commissioner after the National Assembly approved her nomination on Thursday.

Kassait who until her nomination was the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Director of Voter Registration and Election Operations was vetted by the House Committee on Communication, Information and Innovation Committee chaired by Marakwet West MP William Kissang.

During her vetting, Kassait assured Kenyans that she will guarantee the protection of their data and fight against cybercrime across the country if she gets the job.

“Given the opportunity, I am willing and ready to work to ensure that regulations are in place to ensure that data protection in Kenya becomes a reality and Kenya is placed in Africa second after Ghana as a trailblazer in ensuring personal data is protected,” Kassait promised.

Kassait will be responsible for the enforcement of the Data Protection Act with duties such as exercising oversight on data processing operations, promoting self-regulation among data controllers, promoting international cooperation in data protection related issues, and conducting research on data processing development.

Kassait’s approval paves way for the roll out of an electronic civil registry – Huduma Namba – which was temporarily halted by the High Court in 2019.

A panel of three judges had ruled that the roll out of the Huduma Namba was unconstitutional considering at the time their were no explicit data protection laws and a substantive Data Commissioner.

The case was filed by the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR), the Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC) and the Nubian Rights Forum.

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A Data Protection Act was passed in November 2019.

The government has since announced a second roll out of the National Integrated Identification Management System (NIIMS) registration commonly known as Huduma Namba.

At least 38 million people were listed in the first phase of registration which was conducted in April 2019.

During this year’s Mashujaa Day celebrations, President Kenyatta received his Huduma Namba card alongside First Lady Margaret and 10 other Kenyans.

The President said the new number is crucial because it captures individuals’ data on a single card. 

The card will be used by Kenyans in acquiring government services such as seeking treatment in public hospitals, registration of marriages or filing tax returns.

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