Court to issue judgment on Huduma Namba

Residents are registered for Huduma Namba at Mombasa Huduma Centre on May 15, 2019. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

What you need to know:

  • A three-judge bench comprising of Justices Pauline Nyamweya, Mumbi Ngugi and Weldon Korir will issue their determination on the case.

The High Court will on Thursday deliver a judgment on the case on Huduma Namba.

A three-judge bench comprising of Justices Pauline Nyamweya, Mumbi Ngugi and Weldon Korir will issue their determination on the case which challenged implementation of a digital platform that seeks to digitise and centralise records of vital life events of citizens and foreigners in Kenya.

The Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC), the Nubian Rights Forum and the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNHCR) filed different cases challenging the platform but they were all consolidated into one.

They sued the Attorney-General, the Cabinet Secretaries for Interior as well as the Information Communication Technology, the Director of National Registration and the Speaker of the National Assembly.

While digitisation of records can improve efficiencies in registration and increase data quality while lowering cost of data management, the lobbies claimed that the country does not have proper legislation or policy on data protection.


According to the lobbies, the system would breach the right to privacy as information relating to family or private affairs may be required to be revealed.

They further alleged that the legislation of Niims does not provide for a transition mechanism from the current regime hence exposing taxpayers to unfair inconveniences and would result to coercion and blackmail for personal information in exchange for constitutional guaranteed rights.

The lobbies argued that there are several questions pending regarding the amendments made to the law that saw the creation of the National Integrated Identity Management System (Niims) and that there are no clear provisions indicating how the process of data collection shall be done.

The lobbies claimed that the new data collection and registration platform will only further discriminate communities in marginalised areas.

They have claimed that there is already an existing parallel mechanism on registration called the Integrated Population Registration System.

But the government insisted that Niims would also aid in adopting technology in line with current global trends.

Interior Principal Secretary Karanja Kibicho told court that the government has no intention of knowing the place of residence of each Kenyan since that information has always been confined to names of villages or urban estates due to limited technology available in the past.


In April last year, the judges allowed the government to launch the Huduma Namba registration although with tough conditions pending hearing and determination of the case.

The judges stopped the government from forcing Kenyans to register for Huduma Namba as well as using the data collected from the exercise to withhold any services or bar anyone from accessing public facilities.

In addition, the government was also ordered to share the collected information with international bodies.

The judges pointed out that it is in the public interest to have such a system for collection of data but the platform should not infringe on the rights of citizens and foreigners in the country.

The judges also suspended collection of DNA samples and GPS information while pointing out that other unique identifiers should remain in place.

Several witnesses testified in the case including information technology experts.

They disclosed that fresh information collected was not new and that the Huduma number system could be prone to hacking.