Must children line up for Huduma Namba?


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I am a little peeved with this Huduma Namba registration process.

Registration is required for any Kenyan aged six years and above. So far the whole process has been marred with misinformation, leading to confusion.

Depending on who you ask, registration may or may not be compulsory. Your SIM card may or may not be deactivated if you do not register. Talk about service delivery!

Reports of National Integrated Identity Management System (NIIMS) agents canvassing estates and hospitals in an effort to register as many people as they can during this rollout period is a bit iffy.

The scenario playing out in my head is NIIMS agents visiting schools after they reopen to register children! This is not that far-fetched given the SIM issue.

And so, does child registration require parental consent or the child’s consent is sufficient?

In a marred process, these are things we cannot answer definitively. Of more concern, will the government deny a child a service because they did not register for a Huduma Namba?

Actually what services are these that a child is being denied? Customs goods registration, returns filling, driving test booking, passport application?

Most of the government services that would require a Huduma Namba are not ones that a child would require at this stage in life. It’s hardly feasible a child would be filing a notice of marriage at age six!

Which begs the question, why does the government need children registered for Huduma Namba?

The reasons put forward are that the registration will assist the government in national planning, resource allocation and social services.

But, the government is not currently hindered from doing all of the above and more.

I am finding it hard to believe that a number will ‘empower’ the government to go above and beyond in offering services to children. In any event, the government has a record of children births.

The child has a birth certificate, the government services can be provided by producing this document.

Seeing as though a child doesn’t have an understanding of how this Huduma Namba works — let alone the adults — registration should not be required until they are 18 years old.

At that age they will have a better understanding of how the number works, or at least I hope, and the autonomy to choose to register.

Until then, a child should not be held hostage by its own government denying its services until they register.

It also doesn’t appear that the Huduma Namba will enhance the quality of government services being provided.

Have you been to a Huduma Centre lately? For one reason or the other, the services are long-winded and delayed.

The quality of service you receive from the centre wholly depends on the attitude of the person you find behind the desk.

They will either make it very easy for you or difficult. If this Huduma Namba realigned all government services and made them expeditious, then we would be queuing up to get one.

Yet again, because this is an unclear process, we don’t have the incentive to register for something that has not been presented as favourable to us.

And so, there doesn’t seem to be any benefits for any child registering for a Huduma Namba until they know what it does!


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