The pilot phase for the new digital identification system, known as Maisha Digital Cards, is set to officially commence. This follows the publication of regulations by Interior Cabinet Secretary Prof. Kithure Kindiki on Wednesday, establishing the framework for the new personal registration system.
In a Special Gazette notice dated October 25, CS Kindiki modified the Registration of Persons regulations to incorporate the introduction of an electronic card and a registration process. These amendments will also incorporate the use of facial features and fingerprints for personal identification.
The updated regulations also acknowledge the implementation of a Unique Personal Identifier (UPI), which will be assigned to individuals at birth and serve as a lifelong identification number for every Kenyan.
During a forum with religious leaders on Thursday, Immigration and Citizen Services Principal Secretary Prof. Julius Bitok stated that the piloting phase is intended to prepare the country effectively for the adoption of digital IDs.
“We aim to use the pilot as a blueprint for getting things right. We want to ensure that, this time, we successfully introduce digital IDs, learning from the frustrations that hampered previous attempts,” Bitok explained.
He also emphasized that the proposed digital ID system complies with regulations governing the protection of personal data. He highlighted the State’s commitment to avoiding the challenges encountered during the rollout of the controversial Huduma Namba.
“We have conducted a data protection impact assessment, which was not done in previous projects. We have submitted a data protection impact assessment report to the Data Commissioner to ensure that the process complies with the law,” he added.
Bitok further emphasized the enhancement of national security, as the new Maisha Namba card is tamper-proof. Additionally, individuals can apply for their Maisha Digital ID using their smartphones and easily access online services. The government aims to leverage technology for efficient service delivery.
Religious leaders present at the event also pledged to assist in raising public awareness during the introduction of the digital cards.