The government has announced the commencement of civic education on the contentious Maisha Namba, a unique personal identifier.
In statement, Immigration and Citizen Services Principal Secretary Julius Bitok on Friday, September 15 revealed the civic education is aimed at sensitizing people on the benefits of the unique personal identifier.
In a meeting held at the Kenya School of Government in Nairobi, Bitok rallied about 400 Regional, County, and District commissioners to involve the public, further urging them to also involve other relevant stakeholders in the awareness exercise.
“In the next two weeks, we urge you to take time and explain to Wananchi what digital ID is and why the government is introducing it. The President is keen to leverage technology for service delivery.” Bitok noted.
Bitok among other officials addressing the press
Bitok noted that the existing registration and Identity ecosystem that has been in place for nearly three decades is outdated and in need of modernization to make it compliant with international standards.
“Kenya’s commitment to the East Africa Common Market Protocol necessitates the issuance of electronic national ID cards conforming to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) standards for travel documents,” the PS stated.
President William Ruto who is currently out of the country is set to preside over the official launching of the Maisha number on Friday, September 29, in Nakuru County.
The PS further revealed that more stakeholders’ engagement sessions with civil society, religious and elected leaders, and the private sector among others are also planned.
Maisha Namba will serve as a unique personal identification number assigned to Kenyan citizens upon registration, typically at birth.
“This number will become their lifelong personal identity number from birth to death. For newborns, Maisha Namba will also serve as their birth certificate number, facilitating registration in educational institutions, NHIF, and transitioning to an ID number once they reach 18 years of age.”
The number is also set to act as official identifiers and will be used in accessing various government services, including KRA, NSSF, NHIF, and NEMIS throughout their lifetime.
This master database will manage data for all registered citizens, refugees, and foreigners using fingerprint biometric technology, enhancing data accuracy and reliability.
UPI will also consolidate existing independent databases into a single integrated register, serving as the central reference for all data related to Kenyan citizens and foreign residents in the country.
On the other hand, the Digital ID will be a digital representation of an individual, organization, or device, typically encompassing personal attributes, credentials, and authentication.
Maisha card which will bear Maisha Namba will essentially be a 3rd generation ID that will replace the current 2nd generation ID.
It will have enhanced security features, including a microprocessor electronic chip with encrypted data, rendering forgery and manipulation nearly impossible.
The card will feature a photo image of the applicant, an ID number, a card serial number, biometric data, biographic data, residential particulars, and advanced security elements.
Immigration and Citizen Services PS Julius Bitok and Kajiado North MP Onesmus Ngogoyo with one of the recipients of a birth certificate issued at the new Civil Registration Services office in Ngong, Kajiado County, in January 2023