19 March 2019

Kenya: CS Mucheru Tells Senators NIIMS Program Not Directly Under Him

Nairobi — A Senate Committee probing the roll out of the National Integrated Identity Management System (NIIMS) or better known as Huduma Namba hit a snag after the ICT Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru said it was not under his docket.

Mucheru who appeared before the Information and Communication Technology Committee on Tuesday to answer to questions relating to the NIIMS exercise said the program was not under his ministry hence he was not in a position to furnish the committee with the relevant documents.

"I may not respond to the issues because this programme is being implemented by the Ministry of Interior. We are just playing supportive role,' he told the Senators.

In his defence, Mucheru said a team comprising the Attorney General Kihara Kariuki, Interior CS Fred Matiangi and himself will appear before the Senate's Committee of the Whole House to expound on the exercise.

Matiangi and Mucheru once snubbed a National Security, Defence, and Foreign Relations committee to shed light on the matter, prompting the Senators to suspend the process until the two cleared the issues that surround its implementation.

The committee chaired by Baringo Senator Gideon Moi was concerned why the process which had been introduced by the government sometime last month was being implemented yet there were immense gaps in the law that makes the process in its entirety illegal.

"The process is going on in the country yet the court already stopped it from going on, why?" Asked Abshiro Halake the Vice Chair of the committee.

Of more concern to the nominated Senator was the Data Protection Bill, which she said was still being debated on the Floor of the House and had not been factored in the execution of the process, which has raised pertinent questions especially those touching on the privacy of Kenyans.

Nominated Senator Alice Chepkorir also took issue with Mucheru asking what guaranteed measures had the government put in place to ensure that private details of those captured in the system would not get into wrong hands.

"People need to be assured that the information captured by NIIMS would be safe," she said.

Homa Bay Senator Moses Kajwang questioned why the CS had drafted a 'parallel' Data Protection Bill yet there was already one, which was being debated at the Senate.

"Why didn't the government see it fit to put the entire legislative framework in place first before rolling out programme," he questioned.


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