The government has suffered yet another setback in the courts after the Huduma Namba roll-out was declared illegal, null, and void.
On Thursday, October 14, the High Court in Nairobi ruled that the roll-out of Huduma Namba cards was unconstitutional, as the State did not conduct a data impact assessment.
“An order is hereby issued to bring into this honourable court to quash the government’s decision of November 18 2020 to roll out Huduma cards for being ultra vires of the data protection act of 2019,” Justice Jairus Ngaah said.
The judge ordered the State to conduct a data protection impact assessment in accordance with section 31 of the Data Protection Act before rolling out the Huduma documents. He, however, declined to throw away the whole project
Katiba Institute and law professor Yash Pal Ghai were the petitioners.
Ghai and the lobby group argued that there was no guarantee that Kenyans’ personal data would not leak and probably be used for criminal activities such as theft.
The mass registration of Huduma Namba began in April 2019. The first phase roped in 38 million Kenyans.
The second round of registration started in June this year after the Treasury allocated Ksh1 more billion for the exercise.
In total, the government spent Ksh10.6 billion.
In line with Ngaah’s directive, the government will spend more billions to secure Kenyans’ personal information.
The continuous issuance of Huduma cards was rolled out in December 2020. Kenyans have been receiving text messages from the government, telling them where to collect the cards.
Huduma Namba documents were meant to replace the identity cards.