CS Owalo Reveals Plan to Introduce Virtual IDs for Kenyans

April 11, 2024

The government is now planning to introduce a virtual identification system for Kenyans, seemingly stepping away from the new generation smart ID ‘Maisha Namba’, which is currently being rolled out to replace the unsuccessful Huduma Namba.

Information and Communication Technology Cabinet Secretary Eliud Owalo said a Virtual ID would be a step towards modernising identification processes beyond traditional physical ID cards.

During his keynote address before the Senate Committee on ICT in Mombasa on Tuesday, the CS indicated that he is leading discussions on the nation’s digital transformation agenda. He highlighted the innovative concept of a virtual identification system and stressed the crucial need for regulating Artificial Intelligence (AI).

CS Owalo emphasized the system’s potential to revolutionize citizen services, reducing reliance on cumbersome paperwork and queues while enhancing efficiency and security measures.

While acknowledging that the new identification system presents a stark contrast to the 2nd generation IDs, Huduma Namba, and Maisha Namba, the Minister asked Senate and National Assembly members to ensure proper awareness among Kenyans before the new system is introduced.

“Huduma namba failed because it was introduced at the wrong time and it was very suspicious. It was near an election and that’s why it wasn’t attractive. Kenyans need to know how the change is going to affect them. With the Huduma namba, there was inadequate sensitisation.

“We will require awareness and explain to Kenyans the rationale of virtual identification. This will be the success factor that will give us acceptability,” CS Owalo said

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