Over 40 Jubilee MPs have raised the alarm over an alleged scheme to manipulate data through Huduma Namba for political reasons, a claim the Interior has vehemently denied.
On Thursday, the lawmakers sensationally claimed that an expatriate had been hired privately to steer the second phase of the program but the government says the National Integrated Identity Management System (NIIMS) is fully owned by the government.
"The database logistics and the software for NIIMS are 100 percent Kenyan government-funded, designed, and developed, and solely managed by Kenyans. No single component of the implementation process is handled by foreigners," said the Interior ministry.
In the attack against the government initiative for phase two of the registration, the Ruto-allied MPs has questioned the secrecy clouding the registration, which ordinarily would be exposed to public procurement.
“Why is the National Intelligence Service being involved in the proposed registration rather than the parent ministry?” asked Nakuru Senator Susan Kihika.
Speaking at the same function, Kimilili MP Didmus Barasa said the country cannot continue losing money amid the tough economic times that Kenyans are facing.
“A lot of money was used in the first phase of Huduma Namba registration. We cannot be losing money to projects that are of no value to the public,” said Barasa.
In its rejoinder to the assertions issued on Friday, a day after the explosive remarks, the Interior ministry maintained that pre-existing paper-based records and silos have hampered service delivery and left Kenyans' personal information vulnerable to emerging security threats.
"NIIMS, which will be the first of its kind in our history, will be the authentic “single source of truth” on a person’s identity and guide national planning processes, facilitate access to government services, and address such crimes as impersonation, identity theft, fraud, and duplication in registration,"
The MPs were speaking on Thursday, September 24, in Kajiado County in the company of Deputy President William Ruto during the Olngesher Lool Ilmerishie ceremony of the Matapato clan of the Maasai community.
Kikuyu MP Kimani Ichung’wa said they would not allow another scandal in the name of the registration of people.
His sentiments were supported by Malindi MP Aisha Jumwa, nominated Senator Millicent Omanga, Kiharu MP Ndindi Nyoro and Mumias East MP Benjamin Washiali who said Kenyans would want to know what happened to the first phase of registration.
“Share with Kenyans the outcome of the first phase, and how much was used. It is obvious the first one flopped. So, why do we need another one? asked Jumwa.
On the question of the results of the first phase of registration, Interior Principal Administrative Secretary (PAS) Moffat Kangi said that over 90 percent of the datasets collected from the 37 million Kenyans during the mass registration exercise has been cleaned up and matched.
He said that the mass production of the Huduma Cards is set to begin by end of 2020.
However, PAS Kangi also revealed that the Huduma Namba mass registration exercise was slowed down by court cases.
"The process was slowed down by the case filed at the High Court ruling through the consolidated Petitions No. 56, 58 and 59 of 2019," Kangi said.
Meru Senator Mithika Linturi called for a radical shift in the way the government was handling corruption cases.
“What legacy are we about to leave if our business has been transformed from serving the people to stealing from them?” asked Linturi.
In his address, DP Ruto called on leaders to unite and confront “our challenges as a country.”
“Rather than seeking to create more seats and positions for ourselves, let us have a discourse on the empowerment of the people,” he said.
Ruto cautioned civil servants from engaging in political assignments, noting that their mandate was to serve the people.
“Do not be used to instill fear to Kenyans but inject them with hope for a better tomorrow,” he said.