I hate being forced to do things. That’s exactly what I felt was happening when our government started pushing us to register for the mysterious ‘Huduma Number’.
We’d never heard about this number before the beginning of year, and all of a sudden, the government has put registration of all Kenyans as its top priority.
Not the hunger that was ravaging many parts of this country because this same Government didn’t use the data it already has proactively.
Not the spiraling public debt that could throw our economy into turbulence.
Not the surge in mental illness that is turning our men and women into killers.
Nope. Its top priority is getting us registered for God knows what reason.
The government is threatening to deny its services to citizens that do not have the number (which, btw is actually illegal).
This ‘super-helpful’ process is costing us Ksh 6 billion just ahead of an 18 billion shilling census.
Can you imagine that! More than 24 billion spent on collecting citizens’ personal data in a year that the government is supposed to be implementing austerity measures.
This Government is a punishment for our collective stupidity, greed, and naivety as a populace.
Back to Huduma Namba
I and millions of other Kenyans including children had to waste an entire day at least once in the last 45 days, queing in order to register for this supposed elixir for proper service delivery.
We are not even sure as to how this number is supposed to help us.
I have never heard anyone complain that we have too many identification numbers. Each one has a specific purpose, and keeping them separate is ideal when you live in a country run by a government gone rogue.
That aside, I don’t think our government has the capability of delivering to all of us these squeaky clean numbers that are meant to be the gateway to all of its services.
Epic fail best describes this government, and perhaps deployment of the Huduma Namba will be nothing but a pipe dream, and the citizens can rest a bit easy knowing that an incompetent government doesn’t have in its possession all of their data in one centralised location.
Some of the questions I have regarding this number include:
Is it going to improve service delivery?
How is one number the magic trick for fixing everything that is wrong with our government?
How is this unique identifier different to the other unique identifier numbers we possess?
Wouldn’t it be cheaper to declare our national IDs the only identifier?
Do we really need a census after this harrowing experience? Doesn’t this entity already have all the information it needs?
Will corruption holes in government be sealed as a result of this number?
Where did this idea come from?
Did it come from the Chinese?
Which case studies did they use as proof that this will work?
Is our data secure?
Although most of the data we are providing is already in government records, won’t centralising this data make it easy to steal.
If someone stole this information, what exactly would they do with it?
Will this data be used to monitor us as citizens?
We already live in a failed state; we don’t want to live in a police one too where all of your movements are monitored and trackable.
How is a democratic state supposed to run when the Government can monitor, and quell any opposing individuals?
We will be in a lot of shit when our government finally figures out how to control what we do online and offline.
Who stands to benefit from the tenders associated with registration and maintenance of Huduma Namba database?
Some of the companies awarded the tenders were the same crooks that sold us the registration kits for last elections. They did less than a stellar job, so what makes the Government think they’ll do a better job this time?
Will the maintenance of this database be done at the national or county level?
What happens to kids born after the deadline? How will they get registered?
Who should be held accountable in the event that a data breach occurs, and personal data ends up stolen?
Who should be held accountable if the constitutional rights of citizens to privacy, movement, freedom of speech, and freedom of association, are curtailed as a result of this massive collection and storage of citizen data?
Everything is a bit up in the air at the moment, but, soon we’ll know the truth about this number, and who it is truly supposed to benefit.
Let’s just hope the government effs this up like it does everything else so that we don’t pay the harsh consequences of mass registration.