ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi has accused the state of usurping the powers of the electoral commission to independently manage the 2022 polls.
Mudavadi cited the Huduma Bill 2021, which makes it mandatory for the electoral agency to develop its voter database from the National Integrated Identity Management System.
“In 2017 we cried about ‘vifaranga vya computer.’ Do we want to cry again in 2022, about ‘vifaranga vya Huduma number?” Mudavadi said in reference to allegations of poll rigging in 2017.
Mudavadi said Huduma Namba has “serious gaps” and should not be used for purposes of developing a voter register for the forthcoming election.
“There is a general agreement in Kenya right now that we have a serious trust deficit and this is a key ingredient in divisive elections that the country has severely suffered from,” he affirmed
The bill is sponsored by National Assembly Majority leader Amos Kimunya.
If passed, the IEBC will be forced to use the Huduma Namba identification system as the source of the main voter register.
According to the Star, he electoral agency is already compiling the voter register for next year’s general election and planning to roll out the final mass registration next month.
A new law will force the poll agency to go back to the drawing board in preparations for election.
In a statement, Mudavadi said the IEBC is in the process of completing verification of voters register and introduction of Huduma Namba.
The process, he said, might adversely affect the process and undermine the preparedness of the electoral commission to conduct a free, fair and verifiable election.
“The risk of excluding many citizens from exercising their right to vote is real,” he added.
Mudavadi said that IEBC, as an independent body, cannot have its CEO sitting as a member of the Huduma Board as it compromises independence and creates a conflict of interest.
“IEBC is the mandated custodian of voters data and register and the use of Huduma Namba will adversely affect this role and be perceived to be creating a parallel electoral body,” he added.
He further said the people who pioneered the development of Huduma Namba “raised serious issues regarding linking of the NIIMS to the IEBC voter register.”
“To date, the same issues have never been addressed satisfactorily,” he said.
The ANC chief said that the Huduma Namba disadvantaged Kenyans in the diaspora.
“Kenyans in the diaspora who wished to register for the Huduma Namba had to make provisions for traveling back home for the registration to take place.”
Kenyans will also not be allowed to access government services and social protection funds unless they have the Huduma Namba card, the new bill proposes.
The Kenya Revenue Authority will also be compelled to use the Huduma Namba as its primary document.
NIIMS is the source for the Huduma Namba that has been made compulsory for all citizens in the proposed law.
The Bill also spells out penalties for those who fail to enrol for Huduma Namba.
The Bill says tough penalties, including a Sh10,000 fine, for those who fail to register for the document or present their children for registration.
The Bill’s main objective is to establish the NIIMS that will be the country’s main data register for all citizens.
The Bill says that the Namba will be carried in a Huduma Card that will be given to anyone who is above 18 years.