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President Ruto unveils revamped E-Citizen portal

 President William Ruto with ICT CS Eliud Owalo (left) and Interior CS Professor Kithure Kindiki. [PCS]

President William Ruto on Friday, unveiled the new e-Citizen digital platform, marking the beginning of a fully digital driven country.

The platform will host over 5,000 government services, with the number set to increase by the end of the year.

According to Ruto, digitizing government services will increase accountability and ensure that every Kenyan can easily access government services.

The State Department for Internal Security and National Administration is among those that have migrated their operations to the online platform, with four institutions now set to deliver their services digitally.

Some of the services include the Digital Police Station, where Kenyans will be able to access Occurrence Book (OB) number online within two hours.

Additionally, when one is fined, the penalties will be updated in the system immediately. This will see the police department shift from written sheets to online documentation.

The digital OB was conceptualized to eliminate manipulation and disappearance of case records since complaints, statements, and details of criminal activities made at police stations will be uneditable.

The digitization drive will also enhance the police complaints system and civilian review of law enforcement officers.

Any member of the public can file a complaint against police to the Independent Police Oversight Authority (IPOA), with the Authority expected to post the progress of investigations into the deaths and injuries caused by the officers online.

Digital Health Services is another gain under the new plan. The government launched a National Shared Health Records service under the Ministry of Health where medical records for every Kenyan will be available online.

 President William Ruto is taken through the new E-Citizen platform. [PCS]

There will be a Digital Kiosk where health practitioners can be connected to different jobs. Patients will also be able to book hospital appointments online under the Point of Care service.

Ruto also unveiled the housing digital services under the Housing and Development Department.

Here, the government introduced the Boma Yangu digital service on the platform where one can buy a house digitally.

Ruto said the government will build houses and one can get to choose where they want to buy their house.

The title deeds will also be available online. According to Ruto, already there are Sh1.8 billion saved under the programme and one can access the services by dialling *832#.

Digital Identification is another service launched. This service was already rolled out in March 2023 under the Unique Personal Identifier (UPI).

Every child born from March was issued with UPI which replaced the normal birth certificate. The UPI number issued will be their national Identification number.

Under the Agricultural Digital Services, the government launched several services including the E-Voucher where farmers are able to access all farm products online and e-extension services which update Kenyans on the weather updates and possible crops to plant during that season.

The service will also include National Farmers registration where details of every farmer will be recorded.

According to Ruto the waiting time for some of the services on the platform like passport, visa services and good conduct services will now be two weeks after application.

The Kenya Kwanza administration is seeking to empower the E-Citizen platform which has been offering a variety of services to now become the official government site where Kenyans can continue to access all government services.

ICT Cabinet Secretary Eliud Owalo termed the event as a delightful moment for the official launch of digitalized Government services, spearheaded by his ministry.

He said this is one of the foremost early deliveries of the Kenya Kwanza Government.

"We promised to digitalize 5,000 Government services by June 30, 2023. We have exceeded the target by delivering 5, 084 fully-digitalised government services," said Owalo.

He said that Kenyans can begin enjoying access to Government services from the comforts of their homes, or from wherever else they may be.

"No need to stress yourself physically visiting the offices. No strain and anxiety. No transport costs. No time wastage. No being slowed down by people between you and the service you want," Owalo said.

He said the ICT ministry now expect to digitalize all the remaining Government services by December 31. "Easy, effective and efficient service is our promise," Owalo said.

One of the new entrants is the National Authority for the Campaign Against Alcohol and Drug Abuse (NACADA), which will begin licensing importation and exportation of alcoholic drinks online.

As part of the government's efforts to improve access to counselling and support services to the grassroots, the Authority is set to accredit rehabilitation centers digitally, with those struggling with addiction also expected to request virtual and in-person training through the same platform.

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