Bitok welcomes order allowing Maisha Namba rollout

PS Immigration & Citizen Services Prof. Julius Bitok speaking to the press after meeting with MPs from North Eastern says residents from the region. [Wilberforce Okwiri, Standard]

Immigration Principal Secretary Julius Bitok has welcomed a High Court decision allowing the rollout of new digital identity cards dubbed Maisha Namba.

Justice John Chigiti set aside an order he had issued on December 5, 2023, stopping the process, after he was made aware of a similar case filed at the Constitution division of the High Court.

“State Department for Immigration and Citizen Services has taken note of the High Court Directive on Friday, February 23, 2024, lifting the orders issued on December 5, 2023, that bared the Ministry of Interior and National Administration from the issuance of new generation national Identity Card also known as Maisha Card,” said Bitok.

The PS said the decision is a reprieve to over 600,000 Kenyans whose applications for new and duplicate ID cards couldn’t be processed because of the court order.

“We assure all persons with pending applications that we will expeditiously produce IDs on a first in-first out basis beginning immediately,” he added.

Chigiti said that the matter filed by Katiba Institute in which they had sued Interior CS Kithure Kindiki and Attorney General Justin Muturi should be transferred to the Constitution Court.

This is after, he was told by lawyers for the AG that there might be different conclusions to the same case filed at the two divisions of the High Court.

Kindiki’s lawyer decried the failure by Katiba to disclose that a similar matter touching on the same issue had been filed at the constitution division.

Among the issues raised in court was the safety of the personal information collected, its assessment and processing as well as public participation.

The lawyers argued that Kenya Kwanza did not give Kenyans a guarantee that their data is not prone to theft or misuse by state agencies.

PS Bitok said that the government would implement reforms to the Kenya National Identity ecosystem in a manner that respects the constitution and the law with respect to Kenyan’s rights and interests.

“We pledge to sustain our engagements with all stakeholders for meaningful input in the implementation of the Kenya National Digital Identity ecosystem,” he said.

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