Kenya: Proposed Digital ID Card Will Not Be Mandatory – Bitok

Nairobi — The government has clarified, stating that the digital national identification, known as the Maisha Card, will not be mandatory.

Julius Bitok, the Principal Secretary of Immigration and Citizen Services, emphasized that registration for the card will be voluntary.

President William Ruto is scheduled to launch the Sh1 billion project on September 29, 2023, which aims to transform the country into a digital Unique Personal Identifier (UPI)-based national identity database.

“The current IDs will continue to be recognized as a valid identification document

alongside the new card,” he said in Nakuru during a sensitization campaign for the new card.

PS Bitok clarified that, unlike the Huduma Number, which required the collection of biometric data from the public, the Maisha Number will be generated using existing databases, including those from civil registration.

“We want to make the transition as seamless and convenient as possible. We

foresee a 3-5 years phase out of current IDs. But we are confident many Kenyans

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will embrace Maisha Card because of the benefits it will give them,” he said.

However, he noted that the new card will incorporate advanced security and technological enhancements. In contrast to the existing IDs, it will also facilitate digital identification.