The government has started mass distribution of Huduma Namba cards in Nairobi.
Last month, the Ministry of Interior had announced that those who registered will start receiving notifications to collect their cards.
On Thursday, Interior and Co-ordination of National Government Principal Secretary Karanja Kibicho said that the first batch of cards had been dispatched to Huduma Centres across the Nairobi Metropolitan Area and its 17 sub-county offices.
“GoK is sending SMS notifications to those who registered for Huduma Namba to collect their cards. The exercise has begun in Nairobi where collection desks have been set up in all Huduma Centres and all the 17 sub-county offices across the metropolitan area,” he said.
In November, the government announced that the current National Identification Card (ID card) will be phased out by December 12, 2021 and replaced by Huduma Namba cards.
Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru adds the government will begin nationwide rollout of the cards in December.
Huduma Namba, also referred to as the National Integrated Identity Management System (Niims), was introduced in 2019 and was billed as the single source of personal identification for Kenyans and persons resident in Kenya.
During Mashujaa Day celebrations in Kisii last year, the government announced that it was ready to start issuing Huduma Namba cards to Kenyans.
Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i made the announcement as he presented President Uhuru Kenyatta and First Lady Margaret Kenyatta with the country’s first sample cards.
The Head of State, while speaking during Mashujaa Day celebrations at Gusii Stadium, said the cards will soon be rolled out to all Kenyans.
“We are now ready to start issuing cards to Kenyans, so that they can start getting them online and stop the long queues in government offices,” the president said at the time.
In October, the government also published regulations, the Registration of Persons (National Integrated Identity Management System) Rules, 2020, to guide the process.
“The object of these rules is to provide mechanisms for operation of the NIIMS (National Integrated Identity Management System) and facilitate the assigning of Huduma Namba and issuance of Huduma card to a resident individual,” the legal notice by the Interior CS said.
All Kenyans of at least 18 years of age will be required to have the card while children who have attained 6 years will be issued with a minor’s Huduma Namba card.
“Any government agency requiring personal particulars of an individual shall, at the first instance, rely on the Niims database to authenticate the foundational data of an enrolled resident individual,” Dr Matiang’i added in the notice.
Some 38 million people had registered for the card by the time the Sh9.6 billion exercise closed in May last year. The process, however, was dogged by controversy amid claims that it would violate the rights of individuals.