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All Kenyans to be registered afresh in digital database

15 April 2014, 09:16 Nechesa Chemoi

Nairobi - The government has announced that plans are underway to register all Kenyans afresh in a national digital database to assist in the identification of persons holding forged or fake documents.

This was announced by Deputy President William Ruto who met with commissioners of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to seek their input on how best the government can register all Kenyans.

“In order to address the prevailing security challenges, we intend to consolidate all current registers of persons into a single national register with accurate and relevant information,” Ruto said adding that there were gaps in the different registers currently being held by the government.

He gave the example of the missing links in birth registration, Personal Identification Number, Public Service Commission, National Social Security Fund and National Hospital Insurance Fund registers and voter registration among others.

The government consulted the IEBC because it has the technical expertise on registration matters since it used biometric voter listing in the run-up to the 2013 General Election.

The commission led by Chairman Issack Hassan said the proposed registration is an important undertaking that will make the work of IEBC easier and also cut costs.

“With an accurate and credible database an electoral commission will not need to conduct a parallel voter registration as it can draw information from the national database,” Hassan said adding that digital registration was the practice in developed democracies.

ICT Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i said the new register will guide the government in planning as well as help IEBC in planning future elections since they will have readily available information.

“This is your know-your-citizen-campaign that will help us develop a reliable master database that will help us in national planning and security,” Matiang’i said.

Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph ole Lenku said registration of persons was an important component in tackling security challenges.

“We must know who is a Kenyan and who is not. We can only do this from a credible digital database,” the Interior CS said.

It is anticipated the registration will take a period of up to six months once the government has the required infrastructure in place.

The database will contain biometric details of all persons, land, establishments and assets and the exercise will be spearheaded by the Ministries of Information, Communication and Technology and that of Interior and Coordination of National Government.

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