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What Is Good ID?

  • Viewpoint
  • By Phelix Lore (Haki Centre)
  • 21 October 2021

Good ID Awards Community Champion, Phelix Lore, shares his thoughts on what constitutes good ID

Over the past seven years, I have been working on legal identity issues in Kenya. Citizenship in Kenya is a complex issue - our nationality is derived from descent or through blood. As such, for a person to be a citizen, one of the parents must have been a Kenyan by the time of their birth. At independence (1963), the government of Kenya recognized 42 tribes as the original Kenyans. It is from these 42 ethnic tribes that the nationality by birth is pegged.

Communities and tribes outside the 42 tribes are categorized as minority groups and they face challenges in applying for nationality documents. Kenya has a perfect database for foreigners yet an unclear database for its citizens. A Kenyan Citizen by birth must prove time and again that he is a Kenyan (there is no single document issued to Kenyans by birth). Their counterparts - Kenyans by registration - receive the citizenship certificate.

My understanding of Good ID is an identification system that is able to deal with the above problem faced by the minority communities in Kenya

A system that is able to identify all Kenyans without discriminating against others. A system that is transparent and is easily accessible by all citizens. To me, good ID is a system that has effective data protections so as not to risk the data of its members.

In conclusion, I call upon the government - who have the sole responsibility to protect citizens - to ensure that they implement an ID system that is inclusive. Governments should put good policies in place to ensure that all citizens are documented. Statelessness is still a global issue that should be addressed by all nations.