Petitioners Want use of Huduma Namba Data Frozen Until Laws Are Passed

Huduma Namba registration

The Nubian Rights Forum and Kenya Human Rights Commission sued the government over the National Integrated Identity Management System (Huduma Namba) aimed at digitizing and centralizing important records of citizens and foreigners in Kenya.

In the petition they highlighted that Huduma Namba is an impugned act, which was passed without public participation despite the constitution binding all state organs & officers, including Parliament & the Executive to conduct public participation.

In its final hearing in court today, the petitioners have urged the court to find Huduma Namba constitutionally illegal and be declared null and void, because it was conducted without public participation and that the court should prevent the use of the data collected until the necessary legislation is passed. The petitioners further argued that the impugned law was not referred to the Senate for approval, yet it affects the county government’s delivery of services such as education and health which are devolved functions.

Through Lawyer Martha Karua, they also reminded the court of its complaint on violation of privacy, during Huduma Namba registration as the law allowed for the administrators to collect DNA & GPS without specifying the purpose or use of that information.

“We urge the court not to allow the respondents to put the data of 38 million Kenyans at risk by state and public officers by not having institutions set up before the roll-out. We urge the court to freeze this process until the statutory framework and regulatory institutions are set-up. We are asking govt to re-trace their steps, firmly adhere to the constitution, and safeguard the rights of citizens,” the petitioners urged the court.

The data protection bill currently before parliament for discussions, yet to be passed in the absence of such regulations, jeopardizes individual’s privacy rights as they are were obliged by Huduma Namba registration to have their personal information in the public domain, an issue that should be protected by law.

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