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Ruto to launch an alternative of Uhuru’s failed Huduma Namba project

Ruto to use the failed Huduma Namba idea under former president Uhuru Kenyatta for a new government project.

ICT Cabinet Secretary Eliud Owalo disclosed plans to adapt the Huduma Namba concept for a new government project after it failed under the administration of former President Uhuru Kenyatta.

On Tuesday, January 10, Owalo told the media that  Ruto’s government was keen to explore the same idea in rolling out its newly launched digitization programme.

Mr. Owalo defended his position by stating that the government’s digitization initiative was crucial for centralizing all services and easing the burden of creating National Identification (ID) cards to access services.

“The intention of Huduma Namba was good because it was trying to ensure that we have a digital identity that could facilitate virtual transactions between the government and the public as far as the provision of services is concerned,” Owalo stated during an interview on Citizen TV.

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He added: “It is the same thing we are going to do as we roll out this government digitization process because it is still imperative that we don’t need as Kenyans to go to government offices flashing identity cards.”

Owalo argued that Ruto’s administration had established mechanisms to ensure that the digitization initiative complied with the laws of many countries in order to avoid incurring the same fate as Huduma Namba.

The e-Citizen platform, which had previously been managed by a private corporation, has been taken over by the government in order to expedite the project, according to the ICT Cabinet Secretary.

In the next six months, Owalo stated, the Ruto administration wants to digitize over 5,000 government functions.

“We have just taken over the e-Citizen platform and want to upgrade the infrastructure and by next week we will be onboarding additional services on that platform from consumption of services by the public,” Owalo stated.

“The public’s interest is better protected when that architecture is in the hands of the State, and that is exactly what we have done,” he insisted.

Besides producing cards similar to Huduma Cards, the ICT CS maintained that the new digital programme would embrace online services and tools.

He added that the new idea would also enable the government to collect revenue from the project.

“As we progress, we will then have most of these being finalized through appropriation in aid -where you generate revenues internally through that process there is a mechanism based on the fees you charge, some go to the service providers and some are ploughed back and re-invested into the same system,” Owalo reiterated.

Explaining why the Huduma Namba project failed, Owalo stated that the former regime failed to carry out proper public sensitization.

“The pitfall that befell Huduma Namba is that there was no adequate sensitization at the beginning. And if you remember, it was being launched at a time when there was also a crowded political atmosphere. So there were suspicions about it,” Owalo revealed

The Huduma Namba project conceived by Uhuru’s administration failed to materialize following court battles that declared it unconstitutional.

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