The process of distributing Huduma Namba cards began in Nairobi on Thursday, exactly two weeks after the government announced that mass production is underway.
The Ministry of Interior said the first batch has been dispatched to Huduma Centres across the Nairobi Metropolitan Area and its 17 sub-county offices.
Any person who registered will be notified via SMS on when and where to collect their card.
In November last year, Information Communication Technology (ICT) Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru announced that Huduma Namba cards will replace National Identity (ID) cards.
Mucheru said ID cards will cease operation in December this year.
The swearing-in of Immaculate Kassait, Kenya’s first data commissioner, in November 2020, paved way for the roll-out of the printing exercise that will see the country adopt a National register through the National Integrated Identity Management System (NIIMS).
Kassait is tasked with the enforcement of the Data Protection Act which aims to regulate the processing of personal data and protect the privacy of individuals.
The high court had earlier halted the rollout of the cards terming it as unconstitutional. At the time, the Data Protection Law had not been enacted, and the country did not have a Data Commissioner.
During last year’s Mashujaa Day celebrations at Gusii Stadium, President Uhuru Kenyatta commissioned the distribution as he and the first lady received their Huduma Namba Cards.
The Huduma Namba card merges an individual’s data in a single electronic chip. Information captured includes details from the National Identity card, National Hospital Insurance Fund, National Social Security Fund among others.
According to the government, the purpose of the NIIMS initiative is to create and manage a central master population database which will be the `single source of truth’ on a person’s identity.
“The database will contain information of all Kenyan citizens and foreign nationals residing in Kenya and will serve as a reference point for ease of service delivery to the people of Kenya, ” information on Huduma Namba website reads.