Ministry of ICT, Innovation and Youth Affairs Cabinet Secretary (CS), Joe Mucheru, has disclosed that the Attorney General (AG) Kihara Kariuki is in the process of filing an Appeal on the Court ruling over the Huduma number with the optimism that the process will be made better by the Judiciary and the inputs they suggest.
Mucheru said that 8.7 million Kenyans have already collected their Huduma card and 11.3 million cards have already been printed from the 37.8 million people registered already.
Mucheru said that some people went to court and it was ruled that the process should be halted as a government they have abided by the court ruling.
Speaking on Wednesday during a stakeholders’ consultation Workshop on the Draft 2022-2025 Strategic Plan for the Office of Data Protection Commissioner, Mucheru highlighted that the National Registration Bureau (NRB) has an Act which controls how that data is managed and protected and they are not going for new data since it is the same data that the government has always had.
“Because it is new times and everyone wants to feel comfortable, we are happy to continue with this process of ensuring that every Kenyan is comfortable and if it means we will go to the Supreme Court we will do that,” said Mucheru.
The CS added that the AG has gone to court over the matter seeking a stay and ensuring that the process continues.
“We were discussing with Interior CS Fred Matiang’i that this situation is similar to what we went through on the digital migration where some media houses even switched-off but today because of the migration we have over 200 radio stations, over 70 TV stations and a lot of great thing because we took the right steps as government and against all odds, still ensured that we did the right thing,” insisted Mucheru.
He explained that Huduma number is something that other countries have done for many years and it is not new to the world, insisting that they will go to all the way to the Supreme Court if necessary to ensure that Kenyans are going to have a card and a number that will make life easier.
“The card is designed to ensure that we give service to the people, you find that someone’s name is Joe Mucheru in one platform and Mucheru Joe in another which sometimes looks like different people because the data is not the same in all the different platforms. We now want to be more efficient and quicker because if you apply for a driving license and you have a Huduma number it is quicker and goes directly to your card same as passports and others and we will not have to keep registering people over and over again,” said Mucheru.
The CS said that the Government want to have everything together, explaining that one of the conditions to continue with Huduma number was to have the Data Protection Laws in place and they went ahead and got the required laws and established the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner.
Data Protection Commissioner, Immaculate Kassait, said that the Data Protection Act is there to provide a framework to protect personal data.
Kassait said that their strategic plan has been designed to take note of ongoing technological and societal changes.
“We commit to continuously and actively engage with our stakeholders, to ensure we walk together on this transformative journey and ensure the set objectives are realized,” she said.
By Joseph Ng’ang’a