The High Court on Thursday, October 14 struck another b**w against President Uhuru Kenyatta’s administration when it declared the roll-out of the Huduma Namba i*****l.
The Huduma Namba is one of the government’s most-publicized projects, and has cost taxpayers billions of shillings so far for a massive data collection exercise. The Huduma Namba is envisioned as a national digitized system that will allow citizens easier access to government services through Huduma Cards and serve as ‘a single source of truth’.
Justice Jairus Ngaah asserted that the state was at fault for failing to conduct a data protection impact assessment before rolling out the cards.
“An order is hereby issued to bring into this honourable court to quash the government decision of November 18 2020 to roll out Huduma cards for being ultra vires of the data protection act 2019,” the court ruled.
The government was further ordered to undertake a data protection impact assessment before undertaking the national roll-out of Huduma cards.
“Order of mandamus is hereby issued compelling the government to conduct a data protection impact assessment in accordance with section 31 of the Data Protection Act before processing of data and rolling out the Huduma cards,” Justice Ngaah ruled.
Constitutional lobby Katiba Institute had moved to court in 2020 to challenge the Huduma process observing the lack of a data protection impact assessment.
They were joined in their opposition of the process by veteran Constitutional lawyer Prof. Yash Pal Ghai.
The ruling is the latest in a list of bold decisions by the courts that have caught the government flat-footed.
In recent times, the courts have declared the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) unconstitutional and the minimum tax i*****l among other major rulings.