Kenya: Digital ID and Risk of Statelessness

Published: 21/Dec/2020
Source: Statelessness and Citizenship Review

By Grace Mutung’u and Isaac Rutenberg (Centre for Intellectual Property and Information Technology (CIPIT) at Strathmore University)

Statelessness and Citizenship Review, 2(2), 348–354


State issued digital identity is trending in sub-Saharan Africa, and Kenya has not been left behind. The government of Kenya launched the National Integrated Identity Management System (‘NIIMS’) in March 2019. Dubbed ‘Huduma Namba’, which translates to ‘service number’ in Swahili, the programme envisages a centralisation of identity programmes and the issuance of new unique personal identifiers to all citizens and registered foreigners in Kenya, but it has not been without problems.

The legal situation for NIIMS is defined by an Executive Order, an amendment to the national ID law, Huduma Namba Regulations and a judgement from the High Court. Through Executive Order No 1 of 2018, the President directed the development of NIIMS to create and manage a central master population database, to be the ‘single source of truth’ on all Kenyan citizens and foreign nationals residing in Kenya.  NIIMS was to serve as a reference point for personal data for Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and other approved stakeholders.


Themes: ID Documents and Passports
Regions: Kenya
Year: 2020