The government does not intend to punish Kenyans who don’t register for the Huduma Numba. Statehouse Chief of staff Nzioka Waita has clarified that instead, the government will focus more on civic education about the Huduma Namba.
“For the avoidance of doubt Huduma Number Registration is a voluntary excercise in compliance with the ruling of the Courts,” tweeted the chief of staff.
“There is no directive from the Government to institute any punitive measures against those who don’t register. More emphasis will be laid on civic education!” he added.
Earlier in the day, reports had emerged that the government had the intentions of switching off SIM cards of people who didn’t register for the number.
“Communications Authority of Kenya has said that the government will switch off phone sim-cards whose owners fail to register for Huduma Namba by May 18,” KTN had reported.
The report attributed to Communications Authority Director-
General, Francis Wangusi, had angered Kenyans who had gone ahead to mock the decision. Some of them had tweeted saying they were ready to lose their SIM cards rather than be bulldozed into registering.
The Communications Authority has released a press release explaining that the Director-General was quoted out of context.
“We wish to clarify that the Director-General was quoted out of context. For the record, Mr Wangusi emphasized the importance of the Huduma Namba as a single source of truth for the identity of Kenyans,” read part of the press release from the Communications Authority.
“He noted that unscrupulous persons have in the past used either lost IDs or IDs of dead people to register for SIM cards with the express purpose of misusing the cards so registered to perpetrate criminal activities,” the release further read.
The civic education promised by Nzioka Waita will go a long way in sensitising Kenyans. Most don’t seem to really understand why NIMS is important and why the government is spending so much.