High Court declares Huduma Namba roll out illegal

High Court declares Huduma Namba roll out illegal

The High Court has declared that the rollout of the famous Huduma Namba is illegal.

This is based on grounds that there exists a conflict with regards to the Data Protection Act, 2019.

Delivering the verdict, Justice Jairus Ngaah ordered the government to conduct a data protection impact assessment in accordance with section 31 of the Act as the cards have already been rolled out.

However, the court noted that a plea which sought to have the Huduma number roll out stopped is of no use since the government has already rolled out the exercise of Huduma Cards.

This is after Katiba Institute moved to court to stop the roll out of the cards by the State, arguing that there is no data protection impact assessment as per Section 31 of the Data Protection Act, 2019.

They argued that by rolling out the Huduma number the respondents flouted the judgement of the court issued early last year.

“The Data Protection Act rights to privacy were guaranteed the moment the constitution was promulgated …,” they argued

The government, however, objected the case saying that the Act does not apply in the case before the court.

Since the introduction of roll out Huduma Namba exercise, the Kenyan government has so far spent Ksh.10 billion.

Besides, there has been concern that Huduma Namba cards could be used to determine one’s eligibility to vote in the forthcoming general election.

The Government spokesperson Col (Rtd.) Cyrus Oguna has, however, allayed fears that the cards would be used in the elections.

“While it would have been the most preferred document, there was a delay in the Huduma Namba process after the court issued an injunction in May 2019,” he said.

“The injunction was lifted in January 2020, but with the condition that regulations on the management of data be developed. This was completed and the process resumed in November 2020. This delay had an impact on the process.”

While addressing the media in Nairobi, Oguna urged Kenyans to collect the cards even as the government gets ready to roll out phase two of the Huduma Namba registration.

According to Ouguna, the Huduma Namba would have been the most preferred document had the mass roll out of the registration not been halted by a court injuNction in may.

Kenyans have so far collected only 6.5 million Huduma Namba cards out of the 11.2million that have so far been processed.

Oguna said that preparations for the second face of Huduma Namba registration is ongoing.

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Lawrence Baraza is a prolific writer with competencies in Digital Media, Print, and Broadcast. Baraza is also a Communication Practitioner currently spearheading Digital content on Metropol TV's Digital Desk.

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