The Office of the President through the Ministry of Interior and National State Department for Immigration and Citizen Services in a statement on Saturday, September 16 clarified on how the current Identification cards (IDs) will be phased out.
The Principal Secretary for Immigration and Citizens Services Julius Bitok celebrated Global ID Day in Nakuru’s Nyayo Gardens where mass registration for birth certificates, national Ids, and passports was conducted.
Moreover, the event turned into a public awareness forum for the proposed digital ID card known as the Maisha Card.
Speaking at the event, PS Bitok said that the new registration system includes a birth-to-death unique identification number that will be dubbed ‘Maisha Namba’.
The Department of Immigration PS had on September 12 this year announced the introduction of a digital ID named Maisha Card.
He said that the government will start issuing the new generation of IDs beginning September 29.
Also, he reported that the official launch of both Maisha Namba and Digital ID will take place on October 2, 2023.
In his speech on Saturday, the PS stated maisha namba will not be mandatory as the current IDs will still be recognized.
“I want to assure Kenyans that no one will be forced to take up Maisha Card. The current IDs will continue to be recognized as valid identification document alongside the new card.” PS Bitok stated.
According to the PS, the new card will include superior security and technological features, adding that it will support a digital ID mode of identification unlike the current IDs.
Additionally, PS Bitok reported that the current ID number will btransit to Maisha Namba.
“All newborns and those registering for IDs for the first time will be issued with a lifetime Maisha Namba that will be the registration number for school, NHIF, KRA and other government services,” reads part of the statement.
Also, Prof Bitok said that the existing ID holders will not be subjected to fresh registration for biometrics.
“We want to make the transition as seamless and convenient as possible. We foresee 3-5 years phase out of current IDs. But we are confident many Kenyans will embrace Maisha Card because of the benefits it will give them,” Bitok said.
Nonetheless, the system will also contain digital IDs, which will serve as a digital version of one national ID.
Below are some differences between digital IDs and the current IDs
- It is not compulsory to all Kenyans as opposed to the current IDs
- The Digital ID will have superior security and technology features
- It will have an optional Digital ID which will be available online and recognized as valid proof of identity.
- Moreover, it will give Kenyans a secure and efficient way in verifying their identity when accessing government services, opening bank accounts, and even when traveling.
Also proposed is a National Master Population Register that will merge existing and independent databases into a single integrated register for all data.
National ID Day.
The ID Day is an ID4AFRICA initiative for the recognition of September 16th as a global ID Day.
Furthermore, the choice of the date symbolizes the United Nations sustainable development goal (SDG). This goal calls for legal identity for all by 2030.
Also, PS Bitok announced that more public and other stakeholders’ awareness forums will be undertaken across the country.
“The government is fully committed to ensuring that Maisha Namba and the Digital Identity project is transparent and follows the law.”