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600,000 Kenyans to receive new generation digital IDs dubbed Maisha Card

Immigration and Citizen Services PS Julius Bitok has committed to expediting the production of IDs on a first-in, first-out basis

President William Ruto set to unveil Kenya 3rd generation digital ID

The High Court has lifted the suspension on the issuance of the new generation national identity cards, known as Maisha Cards, effective immediately.

This decision comes after a hiatus initiated on December 5, 2023, due to legal challenges regarding the government's compliance with data protection laws.

The High Court's directive on February 23, 2024, marks a significant turnaround, paving the way for over 600,000 Kenyans whose applications for new and duplicate ID cards were in limbo, to finally see progress.

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The suspension, ordered by Justice John Chigiti, was initially put in place following a petition by the Katiba Institute.

The legal challenge centered on the government's failure to conduct a data protection impact assessment (DPIA) as required under section 31 of the Data Protection Act, before rolling out the Maisha Namba Cards.

The petition also argued that the Registration of Persons (Amendment) Regulations, 2023, and Birth and Deaths (Amendment) Regulations, 2023, were adopted in violation of the Statutory Instruments Act and were thus unconstitutional and invalid​​​​.

The Katiba Institute, alongside other civil society groups like the Nubian Rights Forum, the Kenya Human Rights Commission, and the Defenders Coalition, mounted the challenge, underscoring concerns over privacy rights and the adequacy of public participation in the process​​.

The Maisha Namba initiative aims to replace the previously stalled Huduma Namba, incorporating biographical and biometric data for a more streamlined identification process.

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This development is a crucial step for the government, particularly for President William Ruto, who has faced setbacks with the temporary halt of the digital IDs issuance.

The Maisha Card is part of broader efforts to digitize government services, aiming to enhance access and efficiency for Kenyans, both locally and in the diaspora​​.

Immigration and Citizen Services PS Julius Bitok has committed to expediting the production of IDs on a first-in, first-out basis, signifying the government's readiness to address the backlog promptly.

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This move is also indicative of ongoing reforms to the Kenya National Identity ecosystem, with a pledge to uphold the Constitution and the laws, respecting the rights and interests of all citizens​​​​​​.

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