Kenyans suffer huge ID card backlog as court verdict on Maisha Namba rollout awaited
There is said to be a national ID card issuance crisis in Kenya since the close of last year when a Nairobi High Court put the brakes on a government plan to roll out a new digital ID project.
Some Kenyan media report that since the plan to begin issuing the digital ID known as Maisha Namba was halted, thousands of citizens in the East African country have been unable to get the ID cards they applied for. About 10,000 Kenyans apply for an ID card each day, per figures attributed to the Immigration and Citizen Services Permanent Secretariat.
Local portal Kenyans quotes an Interior Ministry official as confirming that the backlog situation is real, adding that there has been a problem with printing ID cards because the system had been configured for the Maisha Card which has long been put on hold.
Meanwhile, Nation, in an investigative report, highlights the ordeal of many Kenyans who say for the past many weeks, they have not laid hands on their ID cards, and this is penalizing them. They said without a national ID card, they cannot have access to some important government and even private sector services.
The report, which is part of a running series dubbed ‘Broken government services’ notes that there are more than 600,000 ID card applications which have not been attended to since the court injunction.
It’s worth mentioning that following the filing of the lawsuit in November, the High Court placed an injunction on the issuance of the Maisha Namba as a pro tem measure, until the case is heard.
Recently, a document from the High Court, described the case as “urgent” and that the matter was to be mentioned on February 6 “with a view to securing a judgement date.”
This development from the court means that the judgement on the matter could be coming in the coming weeks.
At the time of this report, it was not clear though if a judgement date had been set.