Kenya’s new biometric National Integration Identity Management System (NIIMS) has so far seen eight million people across the country enlisted, with high hopes among the interior cabinet that the final number will reach the target figure within the government’s timeframes. NIIMS, informally known nationwide as Huduma Namba, was officially launched by President Uhuru Kenyatta earlier this month, with the aim of using NIIMS to increase the government’s efficiency in delivering public services to its citizens.
It is also thought that the data collected in NIIMS will also be of vital use for national development planning, helping to ascertain the split of Kenyan citizens and foreigners living within the nation’s borders and strengthen national security. Interior Cabinet Secretary, Fred Matiangi, said in a recent interview on NTV that “there will [not] be any need to extend” the deadline for NIIMS registration, with Matiangi confident that “all people will be registered” by the 18th May deadline.
Kenya’s forward-thinking approach is being recognised across multiple sectors
This system is not the only programme to underline Kenya’s forward-thinking approach of late. It was named the third most progressive financial market in Africa, with its access to foreign exchange rated the best in the continent, thanks largely to a relaxation of capital controls. With a large number of financial markets available, from foreign exchange trading to the fast-growing opportunity to trade binary options through international brokers, it’s unsurprising that Kenya scores highly in this category.
Huduma Namba: An historic display of national unity
Chiefs within the Kenya Defence Forces and the National Police Service have also launched the NIIMS registration exercise, with 63 servicemen trained to register soldiers and other workers in regions previously deemed inaccessible by the government. General Mwathethe confirmed that the registration of KDF soldiers will commence in military bases and barracks nationwide. Following the completion of the NIIMS exercise, all citizens living in Kenya will be identifiable through a unique primary identifier. In an historic display of national unity and support for the system, the government’s key opposition leaders also marched to launch sites nationwide as part of the 45-day “Huduma Namba” registration drive.
No Huduma Namba, no Kenyan passport, says Gordon Kihalangwa
Immigration Principal Secretary, Gordon Kihalangwa has warned that citizens across the country that don’t sign up to Huduma Namba will not be eligible to apply for Kenyan passports. Mr Kihalangwa confirmed that his department wishes to “banish the success of NIIMS as a single source of truth”. He stated that “if [citizens] are not in NIIMS and [they] are applying for a passport, we want to know very well that [they] are not a Kenyan”.
Although this comment angered many Kenyan citizens on social media, Interior Cabinet Secretary, Fred Matiangi, insisted that Huduma Namba was necessary to plan more effectively, as well as reduce corruption. “We want the country to move forward in terms of development and efficient service delivery. It is, therefore, very important for every citizen to get a Huduma Namba,” added Matiangi.