“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.
At the beginning of September, the president of Kenya declared the drought a national disaster following a national rainfall report.
NAIROBI, Kenya, September 28, 2021 – The International Rescue Committee is concerned about the growing humanitarian needs following months of droughts in parts of Kenya. At the beginning of September, the president of Kenya declared the drought a national disaster following a national rainfall report. Due to the poor rainfall and low crop production, 2.1 million Kenyans are facing acute food insecurity in the next 6 months.
Mohammed El Montassir Hussein, IRC Kenya Country Director said
“This drought is reminiscent of the great famine of 2011 – we are very concerned about the growing humanitarian needs as people move out of the hometowns in search of places closer to water sources. Livestock are dying and men, women and children are going hungry and thirsty. Across the eastern and southern parts of the country the rains received were as little as 51% of what is expected.
“Lamu Turkana, Marsabit, Samburu, Isiolo, Wajir, Garissa, Tana River, Kilifi and Taita Taveta counties received amounts that were as little as 26% of normal rainfall. Turkana and Garissa are both refugee-hosting counties which put the already vulnerable refugee population at further risk given planned closure of the camps in May 2022. Many people living in these areas rely heavily on crops as a source of nutrition and livelihoods, and the droughts have resulted in below-average crop production. Household stocks are up to 66% below average for all crops. And this is worse in the coastal region. High food prices coupled with declining livestock prices have impacted negatively on households’ ability to buy basic necessities. Earlier than normal migration of up to 60% of livestock mainly in search of pasture and water has intensified insecurity and conflict as well as high risk of livestock diseases.
“Climate change is the main driver of the erratic and recurring droughts, and has been partly attributed to the recent locust outbreaks in East Africa, causing widespread food insecurity. Climate change also contributes to poor health outcomes. Rising temperatures and changing rainfall patterns are likely to exacerbate the spread of vector-borne diseases such as dengue and malaria. Lack of access to clean water will lead to higher incidence of diarrhea, a major cause of death for children under 5. Coupled with the destruction of fragile ecosystems, the changing climate has a profound impact on the occurrence of viruses like COVID-19 that emerge from animals.
“We must prepare for future climate emergencies, with communities given financial support and decision-making power. Local leaders (particularly indigenous populations), smallholder farmers and livestock herders already have the knowledge and experience necessary to confront this crisis.
“Future response to climate change must also be feminist, recognizing the unique and disproportionate ways women are impacted. As farmers, carers or activists, women (and women-led organizations) are central to food security and effective climate change mitigation.
“A secure aid budget – fulfilled in line with the internationally endorsed target of 0.7 percent of Gross National Income (GNI) – and risk-informed financing that can be quickly deployed, is critical to mitigating the impact of future shocks. Investing now to tackle hunger and food insecurity resulting from climate shocks will save time, money and lives in the long run. We are in urgent need of funding to be able to meet basic humanitarian needs and mitigate the impact of future shocks.”
The IRC has been working in Kenya since 1992, providing health care, women’s protection, legal rights, economic recovery & development and nutrition services to hundreds of thousands of refugees and their host communities. We also work with the Kenyan government to support health, nutrition and conflict resolution programs. The IRC is focusing our efforts on the Turkana, Garissa, West Pokot, Kajiado and Nairobi Counties by providing emergency health care, supporting community health projects that improve nutrition, sanitation and access to medicine; educating people about HIV/AIDS and other diseases; fostering conflict resolution to make communities safe for women and children; providing primary education for children and specialized classes and job training for youth and adults and advocating for the rights of refugees in the capital, Nairobi, and other urban areas.