Launch of Huduma card signals end of era for IDs

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The government yesterday launched the issuance of the Huduma Card to replace the decades old national identification card, the single most important document for any Kenyan adult since the country attained independence.

Launching the exercise at two separate functions in Thika and Machakos towns, Cabinet Secretaries Fred Matiang’i (Interior) and Joe Mucheru (ICT) respectively, announced the 37.7 million Kenyans who registered for the document in 2019 will start receiving their cards next month.

Speaking at the Machakos Golf Club, Mucheru said the government will, as from December 1, send short messages (SMSs) to about two million persons for collection of the cards to avoid crowding in offices.

In January 2021, they will send the messages to another five million people. Those who receive the messages will have a period of one month to collect their cards.

“Between now and Jamhuri Day of 2021 you will be able to use your ID cards but from that date, you will not be able to receive any service in Kenya without the Huduma Card,” warned Mucheru, signalling the end of the national identity card.

Underscoring the importance of the Huduma Card, Mucheru said it shall shut all loopholes for ghost workers, ghost students, police workers among other corrupt deeds.

On his part, Matiang’i said at least 10 million more Kenyans will be registered for the new cards when the government opens another mass registration opportunity in April next year.

Terming the new service as “one single source of truth”, Matiang’i said it is the strongest testament about the leadership of President Uhuru Kenyatta and his commitment to liberate this country from the “slavery of poor service.”

“The realisation of the Huduma card is the strongest testament about the leadership of our President.

It has been a long journey. This service is revolutionary that is why it is called a Huduma Card,” said Matiang’i who was accompanied by Data Commissioner Immaculate Kassait and CAS Maureen Mbaka.  

Mucheru on his part assured Kenyans that the Huduma Namba data and security gaps raised before have been addressed. He said there will be no breach of data and that protection of all acquired information is guaranteed.

“We are happy some people went to court to seek clarification on data security and we can say now we have a data commissioner, which means that all your information is protected.

Parliament also passed the laws of data regulation. Parliament also ensured laws on data protection and privacy, which assures all people that this data collected cannot be used without an authority of Kenyans,” said Mucheru.

Francis Mutinda Kioko, who registered for the card and who attended the function said although he registered for the card, he did so with suspicion that it was a political tool but it has dawn on him that the card is important.

Scholastica Ndungwa, a beneficiary, who got his card yesterday during the launch at Machakos Golf Club, hailed the Government for the initiative.

Hezbon Malui, director ICT said they are hoping for all Kenyans to acquire the chip engraved card that will reduce the burden of carrying many current cards such as license, NHIF card, IDs, among others.