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State to roll out Maisha Namba next week

Kiambu County residents can now apply for their proposed digital ID, dubbed the ‘Maisha Namba’, as of Monday, October 2, 2023.

Kiambu County Commissioner Joshua Nkanatha confirmed these during a public sensitization exercise meant to educate the public on Maisha Namba and a master registration database.

The sensitization exercise involved members of the public from all around the county and stakeholders from the Department of Civil Registration, officials from the Ministry of ICT, and the private sector, among others.

According to Christopher Wanjau, the secretary of the National Registration Bureau (NRB), who led the exercise, the new card will incorporate advanced security and technological enhancements in contrast to the existing IDs and will also facilitate digital identification.

“Maisha Namba will serve as a unique personal identification number assigned to Kenyan citizens upon registration, typically at birth, and this number will become their lifelong personal identity number from birth to death,” said Wanjau.

Wanjau added that 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.

“The digital identity system will provide Kenyans with a secure and reliable way to verify their identity for a variety of purposes, including accessing government services, opening bank accounts, and traveling,”  he said.

On her part, the County Registrar of Persons, Susan Mutembei, said the Maisha Namba will essentially be a 3rd generation ID that will replace the current 2nd generation ID, which aims to transform the country into a digital Unique Personal Identifier (UPI)-based national identity database.

“The new system will assign Unique Personal Identification (UPI) numbers at birth to all persons born in Kenya; the UPI will then be uploaded to the e-Citizen portal and will give all newborns a unique number to be used in schools and colleges,” stated Mutembei.

She added that 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.

“Maisha Card will also be a Master Population Register (MPR), which will integrate information for Kenyan citizens, immigrants, and refugees.”

She cited that the card 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,” she added.

“I urge the public to take advantage of this new system when it is officially launched on Monday next week, as it will potentially help reduce fraud linked to identity theft,” Kiambu County Commissioner Joshua Nkanatha urged the public in his remarks.

Digital migration is one of President Ruto’s administration’s Bottom-Up Economic Transformation Agendas (BETA), tied to the digitization of government services.

By Grace Naishoo

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