Kenya: Crafting a democratic blueprint: Designing digital identity systems for the people

Published: 12/Mar/2024
Source: Haki na Sheria (Garissa, Kenya)


The concept of citizenship, a dynamic and multifaceted reality, has evolved significantly throughout history and across diverse cultures, societies, and ideologies. As articulated by Aristotle, the distinction between being a good person and a good citizen underscores the intricate nature of citizenship. Tracing its origins to Ancient Greece, citizenship initially conferred rights and responsibilities upon a privileged few, emphasizing the duty of civic virtue for those with the legal right to participate in the affairs of the state.

Today, citizenship extends beyond a mere legal relationship between the individual and the state. While legal citizenship grants specific privileges and entails corresponding duties, the contemporary understanding of citizenship encompasses broader dimensions. Citizenship is not only a legal construct but also involves a personal sense of belonging to a community, where individuals actively contribute to shaping and influencing their surroundings.  This multifaceted understanding of citizenship is reflected in the four dimensions that characterize the relationship between the individual and society: the political/legal dimension, the social dimension, the cultural dimension, and the economic dimension. Each dimension corresponds to a subsystem  essential for the existence of a society, emphasizing the interconnectedness of political rights and responsibilities, social behavior and solidarity, cultural heritage, and economic rights.

The development of these dimensions occurs through socialization processes in various spheres of life. The goal is to enable individuals to exercise each dimension in a balanced and equal manner. Anyone not protected, runs the risk of being a foreigner in their own country. Therefore, when a Global Majority country such as Kenya chooses to employ the use o f Digital Identity System, these dimensions ought to be critically considered.

This brief explores the historical, political, and social dimensions of citizenship in Kenya, shedding light on its complexities and emphasizing the need for a balanced and comprehensive approach (Democratic Blue-Print) to realize the full potential of citizenship under the Constitution of Kenya 2010 (herein after CoK) as relates to designing of a Digital Identity Ecosystem.

Download: HSI-Crafting-a-Democratic-Blueprint-digital-ID_2024

Haki na Sheria website:

Themes: ID Documents and Passports
Regions: Kenya
Year: 2024