Human Rights Agency in Court to Challenge Huduma Namba Project

February 20, 2019

The implementation of the National Integrated Identity Management System (NIIMS) dubbed ‘Huduma Namba’ should have been subjected to public participation, KHRC argues.

The autonomous national human rights institution has filed a suit to suspend the Sh6 billion exercise to register 50 million Kenyans on a digital database.

National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi, Attorney General Kariuki Kihara, Cabinet secretaries Fred Matiang’i (Interior), Joe Mucheru (ICT) and the Kenya Law Reform are listed as respondents in the suit.

The petitioner wants the amendment to the Registration of Persons Act that was assented by President Uhuru Kenyatta in December to be declared unconstitutional.

“NIIMS was sneaked in through Miscellaneous Amendment Act 2018 that made a major amendment to the Registration of Person Act, inserting a statement that provides the legal basis for the project. Miscellaneous Amendments do not give room for facilitating public involvement. NIIMS will have a substantial effect on individuals once implemented, hence ought to have been subjected to public participation,” KHRC says.

KHRC claims the law allows the State to collect data from Kenyan citizens, including DNA but does not guarantee the safety and protection of this information.

The agency says the project is a serious threat to fundamental rights and freedom.

In its court papers, Kenya Human Rights Commission notes that the law is vague on what constitutes ‘personal information’ to be surrendered to the State.

The impugned provisions do not provide for any and/or adequate security guarantees for the integrity of the system. In the modern/digital age, personal information is vital data.”

Pending the hearing and determination of the petition, the respondents are hereby restrained from installing and operationalising the national integrated information management system (NIIMS) in any manner howsoever,” reads one of the orders sought.

The case will be heard on February 21.

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