Information, Communication, and Digital Economy Cabinet Secretary Eliud Owalo has emphasized that no Kenyan citizen will be forced to acquire the new Digital Identity cards.
During the release of his Ministry’s one-year status report on Monday, CS Owalo clarified that the Digital Identity is distinct from the Huduma Number.
“When we talk about digital identity people start thinking about the Huduma Number. I want to clarify that the Digital Identity cards we are talking about is not the same as the Huduma Number both in terms of objectives and context,” CS Owalo said.
He added: “We have embarked on the process of pursuing Digital Identity for all Kenyans. It is not the same thing as the Huduma Number. We need a virtual means through which the government can confirm that you are who you claim to be.”
Owalo explained that Kenyans will decide among themselves on whether they prefer to use the digital IDs or not.
“Let me also clarify that when it comes to pass, we will not force any Kenyan to take a digital identity. No, the onus will be on you to decide whether or not you want to get government services through your digital identity based on your bio-data or you want to physically visit government offices,” he said.
CS Owalo mentioned some of the key initiatives undertaken by the ICT Ministry in the past year, including the implementation of the fiber optic cable, the establishment of free public Wi-Fi hotspots, digitization of government services, the revitalization of the Kenya Broadcasting Corporation, and addressing the recent cyber attack on essential government services.
Regarding the fiber optic cable, Owalo announced that the Kenya Kwanza administration had exceeded its target by laying 5,280 kilometers, which is 280 kilometers more than the goal set for June 2023.
“On the roll-out 100,000Km fiber cable, our target for June 2023 was 5,000km. I’m happy to announce we have surpassed that target and managed to realize 5,280km,” the CS said.
Owalo also noted that over 420 Wi-Fi hotspots are already operational in markets and bus termini nationwide.
He added: “Our target was to operationalize two hotspots per county by June 2023, we’ve surpassed this target and we are at a total of 421 free public Wi-Fi hotspots as at 31st July.”