The government will phase out current National Identification cards by December 12, 2021, ICT Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru has said.
They will instead be replaced by the Huduma Namba cards to be issued from December 1, 2020. One will not access government services without the new document, Mr Mucheru added.
He was speaking from Machakos Golf Club on Wednesday when he presided over the launch of the Huduma Namba cards.
Mr Mucheru said Kenyans will receive a text message notifying them where to collect the new card.
He added that should one receive the SMS; they will be given one month to pick up their cards from the designated centres.
Interior CS Fred Matiang’i also oversaw a similar launch in Kiambu County where he revealed a second phase of mass registration for the card will be rolled out in April 2021.
“There is an enemy called the file which we are trying to get rid of in public service. The days of lost files, long queues and wastage of time instead of providing efficient service to citizens will be a thing of the past,” said CS Matiang’i.
The legality of the listing is, however, in doubt after a High Court nullified the Miscellaneous Amendment Act 2018 that operationalised Huduma Namba.
The government said it would appeal the decision.
President Uhuru Kenyatta and First Lady Margaret Kenyatta were handed samples of the new cards on Mashujaa Day, October 20, at the Gusii Stadium in Kisii County.
At the time, the government had held it was ready to roll out the issuance of the cards but was awaiting the National Assembly to approve the appointment of a data commissioner.
Ms Immaculate Kassait has since assumed office with her immediate role being the management of the National Integrated Identity Management System – better known as Huduma Namba.
At least 37.7 million Kenyans have registered for the cards.
The card captures data on personal details on the National Health Insurance Fund, Kenya Revenue Authority, the National Social Security Fund, and the soon-to-be-phased-out national identification cards.
This means it will collapse all data into one portal, effectively ending the need to carry multiple identifying documents so as to acquire government services. This what the government has been billing as “one single source of truth.”
An individual’s biodata, such as name, parents, nationality, education, disability and employment status are captured in the system. It will also store the fingerprints and photograph of the person.
The card will serve as the official government-issued document for the identification and conduct of transactions.
According to the government, the system is meant to facilitate national planning and efficient provision of services to various categories of Kenyans, especially the elderly, school children, the disabled, small and medium enterprises and farmers.
It will also manage and control illegal immigrants and foreigners engaged in criminal activities, such as terrorism, drugs and fraud.