High Court puts the brakes on Kindiki's plan to introduce Maisha Namba

Uncollected ID cards. Interior ministry plans to issue digital identity cards with special features and personal details.

The High Court has stopped the government from introducing new digital identity cards popularly known as Maisha Namba after Katiba Institute challenged the process arguing that there is no legal basis for the rollout.

High Court Judge John Chigiti stopped the Ministry of Interior from rolling out the Maisha Namba, which has been described as a third-generation ID that includes a digital card, unique personal identifier and a national master population register.

The lobby group says the government does not have the legal basis of the rollout, there is no data protection impact assessment and it is being done without conducting meaningful public participation or publishing important information relating to the rollout.

“I find that the Application is not frivolous or vexatious. It raises an arguable case that should be heard and determined on merit within the Fair Administrative Action Act framework,” the judge said.

The Maisha Namba is meant to replace the stalled attempt to roll out the Huduma Namba. The Ngo says as with Huduma Namba, the Maisha Namba requires Kenyans to provide biographical information and biometric data, including date of birth, gender, facial image, parentage information and contact information.

According to the organisation, the High Court has on two occasions held that section 31 of the Data Protection Act requires the government to conduct a data protection impact assessment before processing data required for digital identification.