Difference between Huduma number and new digital personal identification system

A Kiambu resident displays a Huduma Namba card. [File, Standard]

Information, Communication, and Digital Economy Cabinet Secretary Eliud Owalo has shed light on the differences between the new digital identification system and the stalled Huduma number initiative.

Owalo clarified that there is a fundamental difference in terms of objective and context between the two initiatives.

“The objective of Huduma number was to put in place a digital population database. But our intention is to come up with a means of verification that you are the person you claim to be, by leveraging on your biodata,” said Owalo.

The CS urged the public to view digital personal identification from a conceptual perspective and to embrace it.

He said that the government is looking forward to digitizing all its services as it will build on the data that it already has in place.

Owalo implied that the Huduma number process introduced by the previous regime was a good idea but was wrongly implemented.

“It was introduced too close to the Elections so people became suspicious about it because perhaps it had got certain links to the election processes,” he said.

He also cited that the process failed because the government did not sensitize the public before it was introduced.

“There was no adequate communication around the Huduma number and that is what we want to correct; by having a commensurate communication plan around digital identity. We want people to understand why we want to introduce it and how it is likely to affect them,” said Owalo.

He reiterated that the government is determined to digitize services to seal revenue leakages as part of Kenya Kwanza's promise.

“We are putting government services on a technological platform because that is the only means through which we can enhance efficiency and effectiveness in service delivery.”

On Monday, the CS said that the government will not force citizens to acquire digital identity cards.