Huduma Namba Will Render Pastoralists Stateless Say Northern Kenya Governors.
Northern Kenya Governors have come against the National Iinformation and Integration Management (NIIM) exercise that has began on Tuesday. The chair of Frontier Counties Development Council(FCDC) Governor Ali Roba of Mandera County said the national government has not consulted them and there is “very little information” on what the card is expected to achieve. FCDC brings together more than 14 counties inhabited by mainly Pastrolist. Governor Roba said there was no civic education regarding the exercise and even the Governors, MCAs and other leaders are not aware of the intention of those running the registration campaign. The governor said as Pastrolist are scattered all over the country and many have crossed borders to Uganda, Somalia and to other countries in search of pasture for their animals the exercise will disenfranchise them even more. He said the requirement of birth certificates and ID cards to register for the NIIM Is intended to negatively affect the Pastrolist communities because ” our region has suffered neglect in the issuing of these important documents for the last 55 years”. Turkana Governor Nanok said the priority for this government should be the drought ravaging the country not the NIIMs program. He said he was disappointed drought was missing from the state of the nation speech by the president yesterday and called for the exercise to be postponed for 6 months.
Garissa Governor Ali Qorane questioned the long-term consequences of disenfranchised people who he said will miss to register for the program. Governor Qorane said one-size-fits-all is a poor approach to major policy implementation like the NIIMs. ” Some one comes with a policy thinking that the whole of Kenya is like his village or sublocation where everyone has a birth certificate and an ID card” said Governor Qorane. “in one of my county’s ward 80% of the people have no ID cards and 100% of them have no birth certificate” he said. “If we assume this NIIMs willl be a consolidation of all documents in the hands of all Kenyans those without the documents will be rendered non-Kenyans and therefore stateless” said Qorane. Qorane said NIIMs registration exercise should be indefinite and unconditional questioning the rational of reaching Pastrolists in 45 days when the government failed to reach them in 55 years. He warned that Pastrolists will not accept any exercise that will render them stateless in their own country.
The governors said NIIMs program will disadvantage those who have no ID cards and birth certificates and called on the national government to increase both the investment on the exercise and the period. They said the registration should run indefinitely for all people to get registered.
The national government has been using county commissioners, chiefs and other national government functionaries to mobilise people to register for the program.
The NIIMs program has come under heavy criticism from across the board including the renown macroeconomist Dr David Ndii who questioned the economic viability of spending shillings 6 billion on the card and claimed it is intended to lock people into loans by few banks owned by some families including that of President Uhuru Kenyatta.
Dr Ndii accused President Kenyatta’s family of planning to benefit their businesses through the Huduma Namba programme.
The economist claimed he had accessed documents from whistle blowers who have been forced to support an alleged scheme to have certain banks associated with the first family control lending to small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
According to Ndii, the government plans to launch a credit facility for SMEs named Wezesha which will be managed by CBA (owned by the President’s family).
CBA will work with other banking institutions including NIC Bank(which is in the process of merging with CBA), Diamond Trust Bank (DTB), the Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) and Cooperative Bank.
Wezesha will allow SMEs to access credit of between Sh50,000 and Sh200,000 which shall be repaid within twelve months.
While the banks will provide the funds needed to fund the SMEs, the government will create a fund to caution the banks from defaulted risk.
“The funding partners propose that the GoK establishes a credit risk guarantee fund, that is administered by the Central Bank of Kenya, to provide mezzanine credit risk cover for any credit losses above three percent, up to the prevailing NPL rate,” Ndii says while quoting one of the documents reportedly in his possession.
Ndii further notes that the Wezesha project is deliberately designed to fail as it has a very low lending rate that would causes losses, but such losses would be catered for by the government.
“Wezesha is simply a scheme to fleece the public. In today’s financial lingo, the Scheme is fully “de-risked.” This is par for the course in “public-private partnership” (PPP) ventures, where the profits are privatized, but the losses are socialized (i.e. borne by the public),” he adds.•