Kenyans, in their characteristic habit of doing things at the last minute, have jammed Huduma Namba registration centres in a rush to beat the Saturday May 18th deadline.
On Thursday morning, registration centres around the country were characterized by long queues as thousands of unregistered citizens sough the much publicized Huduma Namba.
The 45-day mass registration started last month and is currently in its 43rd day.
The uptake was initially slow as most Kenyans did not understand the need for the Huduma Namba and the High Court had barred the government from making the process compulsory.
However, the government used a combination of carrot and stick tactics to encourage registration.
The “carrot” strategy involved linking the Huduma Namba to better government services. In one instance, a government-sponsored ad claimed the registration will bring about universal healthcare – never mind the government already has the relevant information to attain such a service.
The “stick” strategy was mainly intimidation which ranged from a threat to declare those who fail to register as “foreigners”.
A threat to switch off sim card for those boycotting Huduma Namba was later withdrawn by State House and by the Communications Authority of Kenya (CAK) – even though the scare message had already reached home.
Interior CS Fred Matiang’i, who has insisted the government would not extend the registration.
He has also said the quality of service for those who do not have the Huduma Namba would be adversely affected. His PS, Gordon Kihalangw’a said the ministry would not issue new passport to citizens who did not register for a Huduma Namba.