Gov't announces issuance of Maisha Cards to resume immediately

Gov't announces issuance of Maisha Cards to resume immediately

Immigration and Citizen Services PS Prof. Julius Bitok during a past address. PHOTO | COURTESY

The government has announced plans to accelerate the issuance of new-generation National Identity Cards, commonly known as Maisha Cards. 

This decision comes after the High Court on Friday lifted previous orders that had halted the Ministry of Interior and National Administration from processing new ID card applications since December 5th, 2023.

Immigration Principal Secretary Julius Bitok expressed gratitude for the court's decision, stating that it brings relief to over 600,000 Kenyans whose ID card applications had been stalled due to the earlier court order. 

He emphasized the department's commitment to promptly addressing the backlog of pending applications, assuring citizens that IDs would be produced on a first-in-first-out basis, starting immediately.

"We appreciate the patience and support shown by Kenyans throughout this period of uncertainty," said Bitok. "Rest assured, we are fully dedicated to expediting the processing of ID cards and ensuring that all eligible applicants receive their documents without further delay."

Bitok further pledged to continue implementing reforms within the Kenya National Identity ecosystem while upholding constitutional principles and respecting the rights of citizens.

He emphasized the importance of engaging with stakeholders to gather meaningful input for the ongoing development of the country's digital identity infrastructure.

High Court judge John Chigiti lifted earlier orders that had suspended plans of issuing new generation National Identity Card also known as Maisha Card.

The judge further directed that the matter be transferred to the constitutional human rights division for hearing and determination.

The government through the State Department of Immigration & Citizen Services had filed an application seeking to have the orders lifted on grounds that there was material non-disclosure on the part of the applicant  -Katiba Institute.

Maisha card, which will bear Maisha Namba, will essentially be a 3rd generation ID that will replace the current 2nd generation ID. 

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.

It will also function as their Personal Identification Number (PIN) for 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.

It will 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. 

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.


Digital ID Maisha Namba

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