Nowhere to hide as Kenya automates citizens’ data
President Uhuru Kenyatta Wednesday launched the Integrated Population Registration System ( IPRS), which allows access to an individual’s entire registration and identification records using a single personal identification number.
The system will capture critical data of all Kenyans and foreigners residing in Kenya, including refugees.
Through the platform, all critical documents such as birth certificates, national identity cards, passports, Kenya Revenue Authority tax status, National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) and National Social Security Fund (NSSF) information will be accessible at the click of a button.
“We need to know how many people we serve, who they are, what their needs and aspirations are. We need to know about new citizens as soon as they are born or naturalised. Likewise, we needed to know about those who leave our midst, when and why,” said the President
Previously, data on Kenyans and non-Kenyans was contained in manual systems maintained by different institutions. These ranged from the Civil Registration Bureau, National Registration Bureau and the Department of Immigration to the Office of the Registrar-General, NSSF and the NHIF.
Uhuru said that previously, anyone desiring information on an individual had to navigate huge volumes of manual data in different places.
“This challenge hampers the capacity of stakeholders to detect or prevent fraud, impersonation or other criminal activity. It also makes it costly to generate proper planning information,” he said.
The President said that IPRS was the beginning of the journey to ultimately establish Kenya’s National Master Database which would support the third generation identity card system, e-Border, e-Visa, e-Passport and the aliens management systems.
He called on Kenyans to ensure that all births and deaths are officially reported, and transmitted to the National Population Register.
Uhuru directed the Interior ministry and Immigration department to move quickly and register all unregistered citizens, saying failure to do so limits their fundamental rights and unduly marginalises them.
Residents of Northern Kenya and Coast regions have often complained about difficulty in getting official registration and identification documents, which has left them unable to pursue education and economic empowerment or access Government services.
So far 15 million Kenyans below the age of 17 are already captured in the database through their birth certificates while the rest are expected to be uploaded in the next six months.
In addition, a third of the estimated 600,000 refugees living in Kenya have already been registered using their alien card in order to prevent them from taking national identity documents. The remaining 400,000 are expected to be captured in the database in the next five months according to Government officials
IPRS Director George Onyango said that children born in Kenya will henceforth be issued with a personal identification number attached to their birth certificate which will be used to identify them for the rest of their lives.
The platform has been undergoing testing for the last one year.