High Court lifts order stopping Maisha Namba rollout

Immigration and Citizen Services PS Julius Bitok (center) addresses the media after a stakeholders' engagement forum on the digital ID and Maisha Namba at the Nairobi Serena Hotel on November 1, 2023. [David Gichuru, Standard]

The High Court has lifted an order stopping the rollout of new digital identity cards dubbed Maisha Namba.

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

Chigiti said the case filed by Katiba Institute in which they had sued Interior CS Kithure Kindiki and Attorney General Justin Muturi should be heard by 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.

In the December orders, Chigiti had directed the government not to register or issue the cards until the matter filed by the lobby group is heard and determined.

“Upon perusing the application alongside the annexures therein, I find that the application is not frivolous nor vexatious. It raises an arguable case that should be heard and determined on merit within the Fair Administrative Action Act framework. I do hereby issue the following directions: leave is hereby granted in terms of prayer two of the said application. The leave shall operate as a stay in terms of prayer three,” ruled Justice Chigiti at the time.

Katiba said that the Kenya Kwanza administration was looking to illegally use data collected by President William Ruto’s predecessor Uhuru Kenyatta in the Sh11 billion Huduma Namba project.

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