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60,000 Kenyans Apply for Maisha Namba Cards after Court Lifts Injunction

By Oluchukwu Ikemefuna

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The Kenyan government can now resume printing national ID cards as the High Court of Kenya has lifted the injunction against the new Maisha Namba digital ID system. 

The Maisha Card’s issuance was suspended in December of last year due to an application filed by Katiba Institute, which raised issues with the security of personal data, the evaluation and processing processes, and public involvement. This decision follows that action.

 Maisha Namba

What is the Maisha Namba Digital ID System?

A unique personal identification number known as Maisha Namba is assigned to each Kenyan citizen at the time of registration, usually at birth, according to KICKTANET. From the time of birth until death, this number will serve as a permanent personal identity.

In addition, this Maisha number will be used as the birth certificate number for newborns, the registration number for government services, such as health insurance (NHIF) and enrollment in school (NEMIS), and as the National ID number when the child turns eighteen.

In addition, this Maisha number will function as a PIN for the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) and Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA), among other organizations. This same number will become your death certificate number after you pass away.

This number will track down the majority of your actions that you take in the real world, acting as your digital shadow. We anticipate that appropriate digital security and privacy policies and procedures will be in place to guarantee that this information is not disclosed to unapproved parties.

Progress In Issuing The Maisha Namba To Citizens

Judge John Chigiti of the High Court overruled a previous ruling in response to the Katiba Institute’s concerns regarding the Maisha System, directing that the case be referred to the constitutional human rights division for consideration and resolution.

The new digital IDs were put through a trial program by the Kenyan government in November. The administration has announced that the “new Maisha Card” will now be awarded to first-time ID applicants.

The Government Response To The Progress

A new card would also be issued to applicants who needed to replace lost or vandalized cards.

“The Maisha Card will be provided to all Kenyans turning 18 in any region of Kenya on a trial basis. This will allow us to identify any issues or problems prior to the official launch.” Prof. Julius Bitok, Permanent Secretary for Immigration and Citizen Services, made this observation when he announced the pilot.

“The orders issued on December 5, 2023, that barred the Ministry of Interior and National Administration from issuing the new generation national identity card, also known as the Maisha Card, were lifted by the High Court Directive on Friday, February 23, 2024,” Bitok added in a statement.

Bitok added that the government will now issue the new cards more quickly. Over sixty thousand (60,000) Kenyans, he said, had already applied for the identity cards.

He continued, “We assure all persons with pending applications that IDs will be produced expeditiously, first in, first out, beginning immediately.”

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Abdullahi Kafayat
Abdullahi Kafayat

Abdullahi Kafayat is an enthusiastic writer interested in the tech world. She's a graduate of Obafemi Awolowo University and has a BSc in Chemistry. You can reach her at Kafayatabdullahi17@gmail.com.

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