, 12 tweets, 3 min read Read on Twitter
I was chatting with a couple of friends yesterday and was surprised that one of them was intending to sign up for #HudumaNamba. He was equally surprised that I wasn’t, but had no idea why. Nikaambiwa thread lazima icome.

So here’s why ayam not boarding unless it’s law.
First off, I’m in the innovation space and have worked in technology and product design for the past 11 years. My teams have built systems that scale, and I consult for the largest company in the region.

Take it from me: you DON’T need a new number to consolidate the rest.
The idea that you need a #HudumaNamba to consolidate government services is a blatant technical lie.

Your ID number is already unique, and you cannot get anything else without it. If the government’s efforts were honest, they’d improve their current systems, not add a new one.
The second issue is simply that there wasn’t enough public participation for the exercise.

It’s ironic that there was an uproar about JKIA being quickly and silently taken over by government-owned KQ, and yet people are rushing to register without involvement and information.
To date, I’ve tried to find one single source of truth about the huduma number. Nothing.

Whenever information (especially about service delivery) is made scarce by a government that has spent hundreds of millions on ads convincing us that it “delivers,” what does that tell you?
Third, is the fact that Kenya does not have the right legal framework to protect people’s data.

Why would the government rush to implement something so extensive yet data protection bills have been sitting in parliament for the past few years?
Fourth, we do not know (at least we haven’t been told) who owns the data, and what their interests are.

It can’t be about service delivery, because it is clear that the service this country has received from the government has largely been a disservice.

Who else is involved?
Fifth, is the principle referred to as “follow the money.”

The unconfirmed figure I’ve heard is that the budget for the project is 6 Billion. (Context: 1 million seconds = 11 days. 1 billion seconds = 32 years)

Who stands to benefit? Politicians and hustlers. Not the people.
Sixth, no clarification has been made about the cards not having an expiry date.

We do this all the time in tech. Instead of selling you expensive software once, we switch to a subscription model which seems “affordable” but which means you’ll pay a lot more over your lifetime.
Finally, whenever the Kenya Human Rights Commission opposes something, think twice. If you are denied access to a government service for lack of a #HudumaNamba, it is actually a violation of your constitutional rights.

Why the threats then?
The sad reality is that the current framework risks further alienating marginalised communities like Kenyan Somalis and Nubians.
Remember, Kenya is often a testbed for the rest of Africa. Right now, our government is so indebted to China and the West that I don’t think it’s them who want the data, they’ll be out of office eventually. Something deeper is going on.

As always, the choice is yours.

I’m out.
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