Beginning from October 2, 2023 a ‘Maisha Namba’ will be issued to every new born in Kenya, marking the beginning of a revolutionary change in the registration of persons in the country.
Maisha Namba, a Unique Personal Identifier (UPI) shall henceforth be assigned to every Kenyan citizen upon registration, typically at birth.
This number will be a lifelong personal identity number from birth to death. It is the birth certificate number that can also be generated digitally by those authorized to issue birth certificates and officers will undergo training to enable them to apply the digital registration technologies effectively.
At the same time, Kenyan citizens who will be attaining the age of 18 years will be among the first beneficiaries of a 3rd Generation electronic identity card, also dubbed ‘Maisha Card’.
These citizens together with holders of the 2nd generation identity cards will also be provided with an option of acquiring a digital identity card, to complement the electronic version.
State Department for Immigration and Citizen Services Principal Secretary Julius Bitok, says this is in response to the changing registration ecosystem that is about 30 years old and requires an upgrade that conforms to global requirements and also aligned to the fast-growing digital economy.
Prof Bitok says the government is leveraging on technology to enable Kenyan citizens to acquire technologically advanced, safe and secure identification documents.
“This will transform how Kenyans are securely registered, identified, and authenticated and how they do business, through digital registration technologies. We are therefore in the process of transitioning from a fairly manual processing of registration documents to a digital identity system,” Amb Bitok assures.
This means members of the public will now have an opportunity to onboard using an application which has been developed and can access various government services on E-Citizen platform, travel and transact business.
The Government will at the same time launch a master data base (MDB) which will serve as a repository for all registration data collected by registration agencies which include Civil Registration that issues birth and death certificates, National Registration Bureau in charge of identity cards and Immigration and refugee services.
To ensure that citizen data is protected by law, the State Department has developed a Data Protection Impact Assessment (DPIA) and deposited it with the Office of the Data Commissioner. This document will keep on being updated to respond to emerging risks as they arise.
It has also been engaging various stakeholders in a series of sensitization and public participation forums among them, representatives from civil societies, religious leaders, private sector players and development partners. This is an ongoing exercise that will continue even after the official launch.
The State Department has been working on a new digital registration system that comprises a Maisha Namba, Maisha Card, Digital Identity, and a National Master Registration database. The four digital registration solutions will be launched on Monday, October 2, 2023 by President William Ruto.
By Nancy Mathu