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No healthcare, voting without Huduma Namba, Bill proposes

By Moses Nyamori | July 18th 2019
Huduma namba launch in Maua, Meru on April, 10, 2019. [Olivia Murithi/Standard]

The Government has proposed a bill that will lock out individuals without Huduma Namba from healthcare services and participating in the country’s election among other essential services.

If enacted, the proposed Huduma Bill, 2019, by Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i, will see individuals blocked from registering their marriages, register for electricity connection to their homes and enrol into a public educational facility without listing themselves under the National Integrated Identity Management System(NIIMS).

Kenyans will also not sell or buy land as well as operate a bank account without the number if the punitive proposals by the Government are passed by Parliament.

Those seeking to travel outside the country would also be required to produce proof of registration before they can apply and acquire a passport.

You will also be required to have the number before registering a mobile phone number or acquiring a driving license.

This latest move which is likely to trigger a heated public debate goes against the High Court ruling on the controversial listing after it barred the Government against forcing Kenyans to register.

Yesterday, Dr Matiangi put out an announcement calling for public participation over the proposals.

“The Cabinet Secretary for Interior and Coordination of National Government is therefore calling for views and proposals for consideration from members of the general public and any concerned stakeholders on the draft bill,” reads the invite.

Public forum

The ministry has organised an open public forum for public participation on Thursday July 25, 2019 at the Kenya School of Government in Nairobi.

Kenyans are further required to submit views and memoranda to the ministry, deputy county commissioner offices across the country or at any Huduma Namba offices.

The High Court had barred the Government from using the data to withhold any services or bar anyone from accessing public facilities after some Kenyans went to court to stop the exercise that was carried under cloud of controversy.

It further ordered that the Government should not share any details captured in the National Integrated Identity Management System with international bodies. It also barred the Government against infringing on the rights of citizen.

The bill wants to make the number a compulsory requirement for voter registration, benefit from the Government housing scheme, transaction in the financial markets, payment of taxes, access to universal health care services, social protection services and registering or transfering a motor vehicle.

Pay fine

It says that the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) will by default register as a voter every Kenyan who has attained the age of 18 and has been issued with the number.

Also, every citizen who has enrolled into the NIIMS shall by default be registered as a taxpayer upon attaining the age of 18 years.

And any individual who wants to transact the listed services without the Huduma Namba will be jailed for one year or pay a fine of Sh1 million while unlawful production of the document will see one spend three years behind bars or Sh3 million fine.

Individuals who give false information or make false statement when providing information for an entry into the NIIMS database will also face a Sh5 million penalty or five years in jail.

But the Government argues that its move is aimed at making service delivery to the people more efficient.

It argues that the national ID card, despite having all the personal data details, including biometrics, has very little utility in functional areas.


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