The move by the government to introduce new digital identity system (UPI) to Kenyans may face hurdles after a civil society group moved to court seeking to stop the process.
The group named Operation Linda Jamii, led by its Chairperson Professor Fredrick Ogola argue that the government is contravening the constitution adding that there was no public participation.
“Unique Personal Identifiers known as Digital ID is yet to be rolled out and the Taxpayers’ money is to be used in driving the implementation of this project. “He added.
Ogola wants the court to bar the government from proceeding further with any act and/or process of rolling out the Unique Personal Identifier known as Digital ID,” reads one of the orders that they seek.
They argue that the government had already spent 11 billion shillings on the Huduma Namba project which did not benefit Kenyan’s.
“We are seeking a permanent injunction barring the Respondents from having servers of the Huduma Namba project or any other project in a foreign land as they are intending to do in Pakistan, “added Ogola.
The activist wants a declaration that the roll out of Unique Personal Identifiers is unconstitutional because it interferes with prudent utilization of public funds and resources as provided under Article 201 and 227 of the Constitution of Kenya, 2010.
He wants the court to suspend the process of rolling out the Digital Identity Cards pending the hearing and determination of the petition.
Linda Jamii also wants the court to issue an order directing the Ministry of Interior and that of Information to avoid abandoning the Huduma Namba which cost the government a lot of taxpayers money, instead modify the areas of the Huduma Namba that the trial Court found to be illegal and still use it because there is no difference between the Unique Personal Identifier and Huduma Namba.
It is their argument that these actions by the Interior and Ministry of information violate Article 1 of the Constitution which provides for Sovereignty of the people.
In particular the digital sovereignty of the Kenyan people will be grossly compromised and violated if the citizens’ data is taken to another country for roll out of Unique Personal Identifiers.
In a group of 10 petitioners says that the new roll out has introduced a Unique Personal Identifier (UPI) for newborns, which will serve as the child’s personal number before they even start school, and eventually becoming their national identity number, social security number, health insurance number and finally the death certificate.
“The government has failed to publish a gazette notice to ope-rationalize the card and make it a legal identity,”they added
UPI which is a unique personal identifier (UPI) is expected to identify citizens’ right from birth has been filed in court seeking.
Ogola SAYS that in 2005, the government of Kenya, under the Kibaki administration, initiated the registration of persons in the country using a harmonized approach to address duplication efforts.