State to register all citizens in digital database

National ID cards. The Government will register all Kenyans in a national digital database as a measure of addressing security challenges. [PHOTO: FILE]


Nairobi, Kenya: The Government will register all Kenyans in a national digital database as a measure of addressing security challenges and arrest cases of fake identification documents.

Deputy President William Ruto said the move will see a consolidation of all current registers of persons and development of a common database, which will bear biometric details of all those registered.

This will help the Government to address security issues and enhance planning. The database will contain biometric details of all persons, land, establishments and assets. The registration will start in three months. The database will capture new births registration.

In a statement, Mr Ruto said the ministries of Information, Communication and Technology and Interior and Coordination of National Government will spearhead the exercise.

It further stated that this registration will help the Government identify people holding forged or fake identification documents, a crime that has been rampant in the country.

 “In order to address the prevailing security challenges, we intend to consolidate all current registers of persons into a single national register with accurate and relevant information,” said the Deputy President.

Ruto said there are gaps in the different registers. He gave the example of the missing links in birth registration, Personal Identification Number, Public Service Commission, National Social Security Fund and National Hospital Insurance Fund registers and voter registration among others.

He spoke when he met commissioners of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to seek their input on how best the Government can register all Kenyans.

Technical expertise

The Government consulted IEBC because it has the technical expertise on registration matters since it used biometric voter listing in the run-up to the 2013 General Election.

IEBC chairman Issack Hassan said the proposed registration is an important undertaking that will make the commission’s work easier and also cut costs.

“With an accurate and credible database the electoral commission will not need to conduct a parallel voter registration as it can draw information from the national database,” said Hassan.

The IEBC boss said digital registration was the practice in developed democracies.

ICT Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i said the new register will guide the Government in planning as well as help IEBC in planning future elections since they will have readily available information.

“This is your know-your-citizen-campaign that will help us develop a reliable master database that will help us in national planning and security,” said Matiang’i.

Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph ole Lenku said registration of persons is an important component in tackling security challenges.

“We must know who is a Kenyan and who is not. We can only do this from a credible digital database,” said Lenku. A technical team from the two ministries is working out modalities of rolling out the registration programme.

It is anticipated the registration will take six months once the Government has the required infrastructure in place.