Opinion: Another failure called Huduma Namba

The high court in Kenya declared that the rollout of Huduma Namba is illegal. The government of Kenya failed to undertake a Data Protection Impact Assessment before rolling out the digital ID system as required by Kenya’s Data Protection Act, 2019” (Unwanted Witness, 14.10.2021).

The Jubilee government and President Uhuru Kenyatta have failed again. This isn’t the first case of government policies not being legally rolled-out. The same happened to Building Bridges Initiative (BBI), minimum taxes, the lack of appointing judges, illegal operation of Nairobi Metropolitan Service and the Chief Administrative Officer (CAS). All of these policies and government work has been dismissed in the Courts. So, this government haven’t a good track-record.

So, not shocking…

The government will appeal the high court ruling that invalidated Huduma namba rollout. Interior Cabinet Secretary Dr. Fred Matiang’i argued that the court verdict was based on the wrong interpretation of the essence and practical intentions of Huduma Namba” (Iftiin FM Kenya, 15.10.2021).

The Jubilee really wants this to happen. As the roll-out has so far reached 11.2 million Huduma Numba Cards been processed, only 6.5 million cards collected. This means a bit over half of the cards has been picked by the citizens. The 2019 law is clearly not legal and the usage of it is questionable at best.

Only 6.5 million Huduma Namba cards collected from the 11.2 million processed, gov’t Spokesman Cyrus Oguna says distribution ongoing” (Radio Citizens, 13.10.2021).

Huduma Numba is a restrictive and was done with a foreign entity called Mastercard, which described it like this: “Nairobi, Kenya – February 7, 2017 – Mastercard commits to supporting the roll-out of the Huduma Card in Kenya as the technology partner of choice for the local government organisation. The secure payment solution supports Kenya’s Vision 2030 that calls for reforms in public services to enhance accountability, transparency and efficient service delivery, with focus on developing a cashless economy” (Mastercard, 2017).

So, here they are speaking of cashless society and that’s a banking services. While the same card is supposed to enhance the public services too. That is two different types of customer-bases and should be separated. This is not good for the data collected for the state and can be used by the Mastercard company.

The Huduma Namba card had to be used to access any sort of government service. If you need a passport, marriage license, driving license, register to vote, paying taxes, register a phone number, open a bank account, register company or organization, benefit from a government scheme, enrol to public educational facility, register a motor vehicle and other public services. This shows how the card was the identification every citizen needed. They were forced to have this card, as they wouldn’t have access or ability to get help from the government.

The state should just scrap this one and be careful with the data collected. Also, ensure Mastercard does the right thing and hopefully it isn’t in a loophole of technical data storage. As the international card company cannot have this massive power and monopoly on all customer data. Which they are getting with this Huduma Numba scheme.

A card that opens all the gates of government, but also to create a cashless society. That says it all about the different plans from Jubille and what Mastercard wants out of it. This is two very different plans and it should have been stopped before the citizens was signing up. They were forced … and had no other option. Because, if they didn’t sign-up they would loose out and wouldn’t have access to government entities and schemes. That should worry everyone.

Alas, we know this isn’t over and will be prolonged as the state will appeal the verdict. While the courts should also consider compensation for the burden and time the citizens had to use to get the card. Mastercard should also state what sort of arrangement they have with the Ministry of Interior and how they dissolve this agreement. Peace.

The crazy and mandatory exercise called the Huduma Bill of 2019!

Here we are, at this moment and time, where the Jubilee government, where the Kenyatta administration has no issues to launch a bill so draconian. That the state are forgetting their role for the citizens in their drive to pursuit the registration of all with Huduma Numba.

As the bill states: “AN ACT of Parliament to establish the National Integrated Identity Management System; to promote efficient delivery of public services; to consolidate and harmonise the law on registration of persons;to facilitate assigning of Huduma Namba and issuance of identity documents;to facilitate registration of births and deaths;and for connected purposes” (The Huduma Bill, 2019).

This sounds legit, but at the same time, the registration for these reasons should already be in other parts of the legislation. Not for a NIMS or Huduma Namba but for a commercial ideal, which is an agreement between Mastercard and the Government of Kenya.

As explained here: “Nairobi, Kenya – February 7, 2017 – Mastercard commits to supporting the roll-out of the Huduma Card in Kenya as the technology partner of choice for the local government organisation. The secure payment solution supports Kenya’s Vision 2030 that calls for reforms in public services to enhance accountability, transparency and efficient service delivery, with focus on developing a cashless economy. The Huduma Card is a prepaid card with chip and PIN technology that will connect all Kenyans to the formal financial sector by providing a secure, reliable and flexible payment option. The Huduma Card, powered by Mastercard, is currently being issued by Commercial Bank of Africa (CBA), Diamond Trust Bank (DTB), Equity Bank and Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB), with no bank charges being allocated to citizens when registering for the smart card” (Mastercard, 2017).

Clearly, this should be a voluntary exercise, as the commercial aspect of this shouldn’t make this mandatory. However, with this law, they are really showing no regard for the public. As they are not asking people to accept a commercial agreement with Mastercard, but doing it mandatory.

As stated in the law here:

8.(1) Every resident individual shall have a mandatory obligation to present theHudumaNambain order to—

(a)be issued with a passport;

(b)apply for a driving licence;

(c)register a mobile phone number;

(d)register as a voter;

(e)pay taxes;

(f)transaction the financial markets;

(g)open a bank account;

(h)register a company or a public benefit organisation;

(i)transfer or make any dealings in land;

(j)register for electricity connection;

(k)access universal health care services;

(l)benefit from the government housing scheme;

(m)register a marriage;

(n)enrol into a public educational facility;

(o)access social protection services;

(p)register or transfer a motor vehicle; or

(q)any other specified public service” (The Huduma Bill, 2019).

As you see from this, most of the state services are bound by having the Huduma Numba and the Mastercard connected to it. If you don’t have it, you are not getting access to government services. They have even more of them too, even passports:

(2)The requirements for applying or replacing a Passport are—

(a) Huduma Namba;and

(b)prescribed fee” (The Huduma Bill, 2019)

So, by this state, even passing by a road-block, the Police Officers needs to see your Huduma Numba to let you pass by. To prove that your not a felon, but an innocent citizen.

To top this off, the legislators plans to sanctions the ones who doesn’t want to comply to this: “48.A person who carries out or permits the carrying out of any transaction specified in section 8 without a Huduma Namba commits an offence” (The Huduma Bill, 2019).

It is actually an felony to not comply with previous part of law. They are not only stopping people from getting government services if they don’t have the Huduma Numba and Card made by the Mastercard, but also making it a felony not to register it properly.

The giant lie of this bill, is this sentence in the ending of it:

The Bill does not limit any fundamental right or freedoms” (The Huduma Bill, 2019).

Well, if you cannot access any of the government functions or get the needed services because of not having the Huduma Namba and Huduma Card, than your kind of limiting the fundamental rights or freedoms. The liberty of the person is taken away, as they got to do this. This is taking away people’s freedom, to put them into a government scheme, as they have signed off together with Mastercard. They could have done this with VISA and it would have been the same issue, even for Gods sake, American Express.

So, when CS Fred Matiang’i wrote that this bill doesn’t limit any fundamental righ or freedoms of its citizens. I believe he was high or drunk, because he couldn’t write that with a clear mind. Unless, his heartless and doesn’t understand the basic components of the bill. You don’t need to be a legal scholar to get the gist here. Peace.

Kenya: Monetary Policy Committee Meeting (29.05.2017)

Kenya: Monetary Policy Committee Meeting (27.03.2017)

URA Public Notice on Kenya Commercial Bank (21.12.2016)

ura-kenya-21-12-2016

Kenya: CBK claims the Business Daily has a reckless headline concerning their Chairman Njoroge salary (09.12.2016)

cbk-statement-09-12-2016

Here is the documentation that the Business Daily took their information from:

Was it reckless writing about this? Need more than statement for this activity, CBK!
Was it reckless writing about this? Need more than statement for this activity, CBK!

 

Press Release: Imperial Bank Limited (In Receivership) Kenya (31.03.2016)

Imperial Bank CBK 31.03.2016 P1Imperial Bank CBK 31.03.2016 P2

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