Source: Mail & Guardian (South Africa)
In 2008, following the violence that accompanied the disputed presidential election, Kenyan politicians came together to form a government of national unity.
One of their very first acts of the GNU cabinet was to set in motion a brazen scheme that took advantage of a shortage of the country’s staple to line their pockets. By the time they were done, fully a third of the country was starving and close to $350-million had been lost.
So Kenyans have good reason to be wary whenever their famously pugnacious political class agree on something. It almost always means grief for citizens.
In the last few weeks, they have had especially good reason to be concerned as the ruling class unites behind a new system for registering all citizens. Under the scheme, which was snuck in via innocuous legislative amendments and which the government appears intent to force down Kenyan throats, everyone aged six and above is required to register for a Huduma Namba (‘service number’) in order to access government services.
The government claims that it wants to establish what it calls “a single source of truth” but the opaqueness of the process as well as the scope of the personal data it hopes to collect — from biometric data to DNA to information on personal assets — has raised alarm among human rights, privacy and anti-corruption organisations.