Maisha Number: Everything You Need To Know About It

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By kfw

What is Maisha Number?

Maisha Number (Maisha Namba) is a 14-digit Unique Personal Identifier (UPI) Number issued to Kenyans by the Government of Kenya, that will serve as the persons identifier, acting as an identification number for all government services including birth certificate, death certificate, driver’s license, KRA PIN, NSSF Number, NHIF Number among other use cases. There will be no longer any need to take separate documents with different numbers because the distinct number is used to identify individual persons in this digital ID ecosystem.

The Maisha Number will feature a Machine-Readable Zone, conforming to International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) standards. The number will work in a similar way to the United States’ Social security number.

From its launch, newborn children will be assigned a distinct Maisha Namba that will serve as their birth certificate number and later as an identification number for all government services, including, drivers license, KRA PIN, NSSF number, NHIF number and registration of death.

The Maisha Number is set to be launched at a later date by President William Ruto under the Immigration and Citizen Services Principal Secretary Julius Bitok, after the postponement of its launch that was scheduled for October 2nd 2023.

The government decided to start piloting it so that they can correct all the issues, if any, before doing an official launch. The date for the official rollout will be communicated once everything is ready.

During the pilot, any first-time ID applicants (those turning 18 years old), will be issued with Maisha Cards beginning November 1, 2023 as part of the digital registration of persons process.

Applicants seeking replacements for defaced or lost id cards will also be given the new card, that has enhanced security, as the government tests the country’s preparedness for a full rollout of the digital IDs.

Persons with second-generation ID cards, that have been in use since 1995, can apply for the new third-generation digital IDs. The Maisha Card is not necessarily a Physical Card, but it has a Virtual ID that comes with a QR code which can be scanned to identify a person.

The full rollout of the Maisha Number Digital ID platform is estimated to take a period of 2 to 3 years.

The Digital ID records is stored in a master database called the National Master Population Register, that has all the electronic ID information of every Kenyan. For those holding first and second generation ID cards, their data will be obtained from records of births, deaths, refugees in the country as well as foreigners, for entry into the database. No one will be required to present themselves in any government office to give their data.

On August 14th 2023 in Nairobi, Kenya signed a Cooperation Framework (Memorandum of Understanding) with the United Nation’s Development Programme to support the country’s development of the digital identity program infrastructure. The partnership covers resource mobilization, technical advisory and project monitoring.

UNDP Resident Representative Anthony Ngororano co-signed the MoU with Immigration and Citizen Services Principal Secretary Julius Bitok.

Anthony Ngororano applauded the Kenyan government for the milestone by saying “I want to recognize the government of Kenya for engaging with non-state actors and it is something we do not take it for granted as Kenya has been a country as UNDP, we have been looking on ways to add value on this digital ID programme,”

Maisha Card Key Features

Maisha card will have a microprocessor electronic chip with encrypted data.

Maisha card will support the creation of a virtual ID, to be known as Maisha Digital ID, for those with smartphones.

Maisha Card will feature a unique personal identifier (UPI) number known as Maisha Namba, that will be the primary and lifelong registration and identification reference for its holders.

Maisha Card Roll Out

All newborns will be issued with Maisha Namba to use in their birth certificates and subsequent registration for government services including school enrolment and health services.

The Maisha Namba will translate to their Maisha card number upon attainment of 18 years of age.

The government will gradually phase out the 2nd generation IDs in favor of Maisha Card with the current ID number translating to Maisha Namba.

Privacy Concerns About Maisha Card

There are privacy concerns about Maisha Namba, with issues of tracking individuals data and health records being at play. It is suspected that the government is working with third party organizations to collect data and information about Kenyans as they use them as guinea pigs in their agendas.

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