IEBC declares stand on use of Huduma Namba in August 2022 General Election

Kenya plans to phase out the national ID cards in favour of the Huduma Namba card.

President Uhuru Kenyatta showing his Huduma Namba card after receiving it in December 2020

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission has clarified its position regarding the use of Huduma Namba cards in the upcoming August 2022 General Election.

In a memorandum to the National Assembly Justice and Legal Affairs Committee (JLAC), IEBC enumerated reasons why it objected to the use of the Huduma Namba cards.

The Huduma Namba Bill 2021 seeks to consolidate identification documents into the National Integrated Information Management System. (NIIMS).

According to the commission, it would need to upgrade its technology such as the Kenya Integrated Elections Management System to accommodate the proposed law.

The electronic voter register would also require an update to provide an allowance for Kenyans to use their Huduma Namba cards.

The Bill creates confusion when the use of the national ID cards or valid passports will be replaced with Huduma cards as the only means of official identification,” the IEBC told the National Assembly JLAC.

The commission also raised concerns that more time would be required for Kenyans to acquire the Huduma Namba so that they are not left out in the August General Elections.

As of September 2021, at least 9 million Huduma Namba cards had been processed and dispatched across the country.

IEBC Chair Wafula Chebukati also said that the commission would have to depend on a third party database which curtails the independence of the agency.

The proposed use of NIIMS data by the commission will require redesigning and modifying technology to adapt to the new methods and integrating the commission’s register functions with Huduma, which process is not attainable at this time,” Chebukati explained.

Huduma Namba to replace KRA Pin

The Huduma Namba Bill also seeks to replace the use of KRA’s Pin number.

If passed, everyone above 18 years old enrolled on the Huduma Namba will be required to file tax returns.

"Huduma Namba assigned to an individual under the Huduma Act, 2021 shall serve as PIN for the purpose of tax law," reads the bill in part.

Children who are enrolled on Huduma Namba will automatically have their tax obligation activated upon attainment of 18 years.

Currently, Kenyans voluntarily apply for KRA pin on a demand basis such as for employment, opening a bank account or starting a business, meaning that many who may not need it don’t apply.

In June 2021 only 5.5 million Kenyans filed their tax returns, against an adult population of 25.64 million.

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