Gov't to begin Maisha Namba digital ID awareness drive this weekend

Gov't to begin Maisha Namba digital ID awareness drive this weekend

Regional, County and District Commissioners during a meeting at the Kenya School of Government on September 15, 2023. PHOTO| COURTESY

The government will this weekend kick off a countrywide public sensitization exercise on the proposed digital ID dubbed the Maisha Namba which is set to be launched by President William Ruto at the end of this month.

According to PS Bitok, the public education forums will be coordinated by the grassroots officers previously known as the provincial administration who will also engage the public on the Maisha Namba and a master registration database. 

Speaking on Friday, the PS urged the over 400 Regional, County and District commissioners who are meeting in Nairobi to engage the public and other stakeholders extensively before the official launch on September 29, 2023 in Nakuru.

He disclosed that more stakeholders’ engagement sessions with the civil society, religious and elected leaders and the private sector among others are also planned.

“In the next two weeks, we urge you to take time and explain to wananchi what digital ID and why the government is introducing it. The President is keen to leverage technology for service delivery,” he said at the meeting.

The meeting at the Kenya School of Government had been convened by the Chief of Staff and Head of Public Service Felix Kosgei to review performance in the first year of President Ruto’s administration and to brief the officers on the government’s priority projects.

PS Bitok said the existing registration and Identity ecosystem that has been in place for nearly three decades is outdated and in need of modernization to make it compliant with international standards.

 “Kenya's commitment to the East Africa Common Market Protocol necessitates the issuance of electronic national ID cards conforming to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) standards for travel documents,” he said.

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. 

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


Julius Bitok Maisha Namba

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