Kenyans had to survive the early morning cold, extremely long queues, and the scorching sun during the day, so they could get themselves a Huduma Namba. Touted as the key to attaining basics services like driving license, passport, opening bank accounts among others, Kenyans actively participating the exercise for fear that they would be left out and suffer dearly for being ignorant about state directives. It cost the government Ksh 9.6 billion to roll it out.
The manner in which the data collection process was being conducted saw the Nubian Rights Forum and Kenya Human Rights Commission sue the government over the platform, saying Kenya did not have a law or policy on data protection. After tussling in the corridors of justice, the state found in their best interest to enact a data protection act with infringement of personal information and protect young adults from being exposed to cyber-crimes.
Months later there has been no news on what happened to the data that was collected countrywide, that has left Kenyans disappointed and bored at the manner in which the government is working on the end product of the whole process. But as it turns out, it might take another 2 years before we can have our Huduma Namba in cards.
Interior Ministry estimates Huduma cards printing bill at Ksh1 billion, but the Treasury has allocated only 500 million for the financial year starting July 1, and a further Ksh 2.05 billion for 2021/22. The estimates, tabled in Parliament by Leader of Majority Aden Duale, however, show that Sh1.51 billion was allocated for the National Integrated Identity Management System (NIMS) also Huduma Namba in the current financial year. These allocations are contained in the budget estimates for the Ministry of Interior for financial year 2021/22.
With only Ksh 500 million and a COVID-19 pandemic that is draining finances in the country shelving the idea o Huduma Namba for another two years sounds like a good plan in the meantime.