What you need to know:
- Kenyans have been taken round in circles in the past, which is the reason they are skeptical and cynical about government projects.
- In developed nations, citizens do not carry with them several documents for identification because they are all harmonised.
The National Integrated Identity Management System, commonly known as Huduma Namba, has been the subject of speculation for quite a while. In recent times, a faction of Jubilee Party revolving around Deputy President William Ruto criticised it, claiming it was a ploy to manipulate election results in 2022.
They also saw it as a conduit for siphoning money from the national coffers. Opinion is steeply divided on the number because of lack clarity about what it is and its purpose.
When it was launched last year, the public was told this was a one-stop shop for collating information about every citizen, ranging from birth registration to personal identity, driving certificate and the national medical insurance details.
In developed nations, citizens do not carry with them several documents for identification because they are all harmonised. In our case, however, the public is not convinced that is the direction in which the government is moving.
Matters were made worse by the fact that the citizens were being forced to register for the number, spawning resentment and doubts about its objective.
Enhance service delivery
Moreover, questions have been raised as to why it has taken so long to issue the numbers when at the launch the government seemed to be in a hurry to implement it.
Against this backdrop, we acknowledge the assurance by President Uhuru Kenyatta that there is nothing sinister about the number. On the contrary, he explained, the number is intended to enhance service delivery and national security. That is reassuring and we believe the President means what he says.
Beyond that, he should solidify his commitment by ensuring the numbers are issued to the public soon. More importantly, they should be put into use as envisioned. Kenyans have been taken round in circles in the past, which is the reason they are skeptical and cynical about government projects. Let the government make Huduma Namba a reality.