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Government responds to reports of planting electronic chips on children ongoing Digital ID rollout

Government through the Interior Ministry denies reports of planting electronic chips on kids in Digital ID rollout blaming it on global tech firms.

PS Julius Bitok of Immigration and Citizenship Services has denied allegations that as part of the ongoing Digital ID program, the State is implanting electronic chips in children.

Speaking on Wednesday at the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB) in Nairobi, the PS accused international tech corporations of disseminating false information 

He disclosed that the unnamed companies launched a smear campaign against the government following the denial of their request to assist the State in implementing the Maisha Namba project.

Bitok stated that the government had settled on homegrown IT solutions for the project since an ID database was already available.

The PS insisted that the government was wary of entrusting foreign firms with the design and implementation of the project due to concerns over data protection and integrity.

“The propaganda that we are inserting chips into babies was fuelled by them (vendors) as a result of the government’s refusal to take them up on this project,” he stated.

“Some have wanted to take the Maisha Namba from the ground but we declined their proposal on the basis that this is Kenyan ID and process and we already have a foundational ID. Maisha Namba is just an upgrade.”

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The response by government after the Catholic bishops raised concerns over the intensity of the rumours that the implants were already ongoing, pointing to a sinister motive behind the claims.

‘Knowledge is power and there is a need to continuously share information with the public to dispel the misinformation out in the public,” stated Bishop Anthony Muheria, the Archbishop of Nyeri.

“It is imperative that continuity and diversity in communicating the right information to the public on the project.”

The State kicked off the pilot phase of the rollout on November 1 targeting first-time applicants as well as those replacing their lost IDs.

The pilot process is expected to help the State assess any errors likely to be found within the digital-based Maisha Namba before a penultimate rollout.

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