Huduma Namba and Our National Security Strategy

In this era of technology and globalization, security is increasingly becoming one the most pertinent issues that governments across the globe are grappling with. As criminals continue to evolve their tactics, the global security landscape is concurrently changing and we are now facing new and complex threats to our national security. Bio-terrorism, narco-terrorism, cyber-terrorism, and agro-terrorism are among some of the emerging security challenges that necessitate a radical and progressive reorientation of counter-strategies.

Many countries that have established digital population registers similar to our National Integrated Identity Management System (NIIMS) are already reaping benefits, which extend to management of security matters. As it stands, Kenya is playing catch-up in this sphere, but the new system is a giant step that will herald a remarkable breakthrough in surveillance and response strategies for our security organs.

To begin with, the aspect of resource allocation touches on investment in security and deployment of personnel on an as-needed basis. In a nutshell, a reliable population database will be used to determine the number of law enforcement officers required as the government endeavors to realize the recommended police-to-citizen ratio as well as police officer per capita rates for different areas.

Once the database is in place, it will be easy to identify individuals that would potentially pose serious threats to public safety and our national security. Since an individual’s personal details will be consolidated into Huduma Namba, police officers can be able to identify criminal elements and track the “footsteps” of their operations with appreciable accuracy.

The fact the system will be interlinked with other databases, including the digital registry of licensed firearm holders and NTSA, information-sharing among security agencies will be smooth and highly reliable. As such, law breakers rogue motorists and licensed gun owners engaging in criminal activities can be picked out for prosecution at the touch of a button. It is worth noting that the government has rededicated its energies to tracking down and disrupting terrorist financing, and this system will ultimately complement and reinforce the multi-agency approaches to managing security in the country.

Furthermore, the system will not only provide early warning of enemy presence in Kenya but also position the country as an indispensable partner in the provision of global threat intelligence towards the fight against transnational organized crime. The Unique Identification Number will be one of the smartest surveillance assets at major airports, entry points, and traffic checkpoints among other strategic security controls. Therefore, the police can identify possible exploits and threats for easy prioritization and subsequently enhance effective response and critical operations based on the level of the threats.

Bearing in mind that the database will contain personal details of all Kenyan citizens and foreigners living in the country, law enforcement agencies will be able to winnow out potential criminal illegal immigrants, some of whom have prior criminal convictions. As a matter of fact, these criminals and fugitives from justice are as dangerous to Kenya just as they are to their respective countries of origin.

Please keep in mind that submission of oneself for the biometric registration exercise set to begin on April 2, 2019 is not only a legal obligation but also a civic virtue. As the government progressively builds the country’s institutional capacity to fight terror and organized crime, any Kenyan citizen who has nothing to hide or a foreign national engaging in legitimate activities in the country should have their personal details captured in the new system.

Huduma Namba, Kwa Huduma Bora

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