Kenyans to receive Maisha cards from November 1

Immigration and Citizen Services PS Julius Bitok displays a copy of a booklet on Digital ID at Serena Hotel, Nairobi. Looking on is Amnesty International Kenya Executive Director Irungu Houghton. [Immigration Department]

Kenyans will start receiving Maisha cards from today, Wednesday, November 1, Immigration and Citizen Services Principal Secretary Julius Bitok has said.

In a statement, Bitok said the issuance of the cards will mark the beginning of digital identification registration in the country, now in its pilot phase.

The cards will first be issued to Kenyans who have turned 18 years old and those seeking replacement of their IDs.

“All Kenyans turning 18 years in whichever part of Kenya will be issued with a Maisha card on a pilot basis. This way, we will establish whether there are any errors or issues before we do the penultimate launch,” said Bitok.

The Maisha cards will also be given to those seeking replacement for defaced or lost cards.

The Immigration PS further noted that the government plans to address challenges that could be encountered by card users to avoid failing like the previously botched Huduma Namba registration.

Maisha card is designed to feature a microprocessor electronic chip with encrypted data to enhance security and address forgery issues.

It will also enjoy features supporting the creation of a virtual ID to be known as Maisha Digital ID for smartphone users.

The card will feature a unique personal identifier (UPI) number known as Maisha Namba which will be the primary and lifelong registration and identification reference for its holders.

Newborns will be issued with Maisha Namba to use in their birth certificates and other government services, which will later translate to Maisha card after turning 18.

However, PS Bitok said that there will be no mass registration for biometrics.

“During the rollout of the Huduma number, all Kenyans were asked to register afresh. Billions of shillings were used to roll it out. For Maisha Namba, we are not harvesting biometrics nor are we asking for additional money. We are using the existing budget for the registration of persons for the Maisha Namba ecosystem rollout,” said Bitok.

The Maisha Namba, Maisha Card, and Maisha Digital ID will be consolidated into a population register known as the Maisha Integrated Database.

By AFP 3 hrs ago
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