The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has struck a deal with the Kenyan government to implement a lifetime digital identification system. However, the program, called Maisha Namba, has faced fierce opposition from the public and has been put on hold by a recent court ruling.
— The Gateway Pundit (@gatewaypundit) December 25, 2023
According to reports, Bill Gates held clandestine meetings with Kenyan President William Ruto and other government officials before the agreement was made public. Ruto has defended the new ID system, stating that it is intended to improve government services to citizens.
On the other hand, critics argue that the existing 30-year-old ID system in Kenya is in need of an upgrade. The country’s principal secretary of immigration and citizen services, Julius Bitok, emphasized that the current system falls short of international standards and is vulnerable to non-compliance sanctions.
Maisha Namba is described as a “third-generation ID card system” that will assign a unique number to every Kenyan citizen, enabling them to access government services. The registrar of persons in Nyandarua County, Lydiah Njogu, explained that this ID number will serve as a lifelong identity for citizens and will eventually replace traditional birth certificate numbers.
Despite these intentions, the High Court of Kenya halted the rollout of the ID system during its pilot phase in response to a petition filed by the Katiba Institute, which argued that the program lacked a legal basis. This setback has clouded the future of the Maisha Namba system.
The Gates Foundation’s involvement in the program has raised concerns and skepticism. Critics have cautioned that the system may pave the way for a social credit system, akin to what is feared by some in the United States, and have questioned the feasibility of implementing the digital ID system in regions with poor or no network connectivity.
Additionally, residents in the town of Garrisa have urged the government to reconsider the digital system, citing concerns about network availability and potential discrimination. Activists have expressed their discontent, emphasizing that they should not be treated as second-class citizens.
The Gates Foundation has been advocating for a customizable digital ID system since 2018, offering its Modular Open Source Identity Platform to countries free of charge. However, opposition and skepticism persist, with concerns being raised about privacy erosion and potential discrimination.
While the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Kenyan government advocate for the implementation of the Maisha Namba digital identification system as a means to improve service delivery, the program has encountered significant pushback and legal obstacles. Critics and activists continue to express concerns about privacy, discrimination, and the feasibility of the system in regions with poor network connectivity.