a. Arbitrary Deprivation of Life and Other Unlawful or Politically Motivated Killings
There were numerous reports the government or its agents committed arbitrary and unlawful killings, particularly of known or suspected criminals, including terrorists. As of early December, the nongovernmental organization (NGO) Independent Medico-Legal Unit (IMLU) stated police had killed at least 91 persons during the year. Human rights groups also noted the government failed to provide compensation and redress to families of victims.
Some groups alleged authorities significantly underestimated the number of extrajudicial killings by security forces, including due to underreporting of such killings in informal settlements, particularly in dense urban areas. In July, Human Rights Watch (HRW) reported police killed no fewer than 21 men and boys in Nairobi’s Dandora and Mathare neighborhoods since August 2018. Activists in these neighborhoods believed the actual number killed was considerably higher. Police alleged these persons were involved in criminal activities but did not provide justification for using lethal force. For example HRW investigated two separate incidents involving the killings of seven men and boys in April in Mathare. In both cases witnesses said the victims were shot either while kneeling in front of police or while in police custody. In the cases HRW documented, police did not report the killings or initiate the process for an inquest as required by law.
Between October 2018 and September, IPOA received 119 complaints regarding deaths resulting from police actions, compared with 78 in the prior year, and 47 complaints regarding deaths while in police custody or on police premises.
In July the Defenders Coalition noted human rights activists continued to face increased attacks in a climate of impunity. Its report cited the death of activist Caroline Mwatha, a founder of a social justice organization. A police investigation found Mwatha died after an attempted abortion, but many of the circumstances of her death remained suspicious, according to some human rights activists. Four individuals were charged with her murder, and the case remained pending at year’s end.
NGOs and the autonomous governmental entity Kenyan National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) reported in 2017 authorities killed between 35 and 100 persons and injured many others in opposition strongholds following the August 2017 elections (see also section 1.f. on the Baby Pendo case).
Media reports and NGOs attributed many of the human rights abuses to counterterrorism operations in Nairobi and the northeast counties of Mandera, Garissa, and Wajir bordering Somalia, as well as along the coast. In August, Kenya Defense Forces personnel killed Abdullahi Kasim Yusuf, allegedly after he entered a Garissa military camp. The death led to local protests, and human rights defenders in the area called for an investigation, alleging other abuses by security forces in the region and little accountability for abuses.
In March police found six bodies in Tsavo West National Park, with injuries indicating assault, torture, and suffocation. The NGO HAKI Africa joined the postmortem with families of victims of enforced disappearances. In August, HAKI Africa stated 15 unidentified bodies had been discovered in the park over the last three years and called on the government to investigate.
Al-Shabaab terrorists continued to conduct deadly attacks (see Executive Summary).
Impunity remained a serious problem (see section 1.d.). In a few cases, authorities charged and convicted police for committing killings. Since its inception in 2012, IPOA has investigated 67 cases involving killings by police, in which 41 officers were charged with murder and six officers have been convicted. Following an IPOA investigation, in February the High Court sentenced a senior police officer to death for fatally beating a detainee with a metal bar in 2013.
Authorities sometimes attributed the failure to investigate a case of police corruption or unlawful killing to the failure of victims to file official complaints. Victims can file complaints at regional police stations, police headquarters through the Internal Affairs Unit (IAU), and through the IPOA website and hotline. During the year the IAU launched a new hotline to report abuses. Sometimes police turned away victims who sought to file complaints at police stations where alleged police misconduct originated, directing them instead to other area stations. This created a deterrent effect on reporting complaints against police. NGOs documented threats against police officers who attempted to investigate criminal allegations against other police officers.
Police failed to prevent vigilante violence in numerous instances but in other cases played a protective role (see section 6).
Observers and NGOs alleged members of the security forces were culpable of forced disappearances. The Missing Voices website, founded by a group of NGOs to track police killings and disappearances, as of October documented 71 cases of suspected enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings in informal settlements. Human rights groups noted many unlawful killings first materialized as enforced disappearances. For example, in August, Esther Mwikali, a human rights defender who championed land rights in Muthini Village, was found dead two days after she disappeared. The NGO Muslims for Human Rights (MUHURI) reported 13 disappearances in Garissa County between January and March.
In August, NGOs commemorated the International Day of Victims of Enforced Disappearances and called on the government to enact a comprehensive law on enforced disappearances and provide a platform for the public to voice concerns on the abuse of police powers.
Media also reported on families on the coast and in northeastern counties searching for relatives who disappeared following arrest and of authorities holding individuals incommunicado for interrogation for several weeks or longer (see section 1.d.).
In January the High Court dismissed the petitions of the families of a South Sudanese human rights lawyer, Dong Samuel Luak, and a South Sudanese opposition activist, Aggrey Idri, that charged police had not adequately investigated the kidnapping of the two men on the streets of Nairobi in 2017. The court ruled police had acted “prudently and within the law.” Human rights organizations believed it was likely police colluded with the South Sudanese government in the kidnapping. The UN Panel of Experts’ report cited evidence South Sudan’s National Security Service executed Dong and Aggrey shortly after their detention in South Sudan.
c. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
In 2017 President Kenyatta approved the Prevention of Torture Act, which provides a basis to prosecute torture. The law provides a platform to apply articles of the 2010 constitution, including: Article 25 on freedom from torture and cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment; Article 28 on respect and protection of human dignity; and Article 29 on freedom and security of the person. The law brings all state agencies and officials under one rather than multiple legislative mandates. Additionally the law provides protections to vulnerable witnesses and officials who refuse to obey illegal orders that would lead to torture. The government, however, had not instituted the regulations required to implement fully the Prevention of Torture Act.
NGOs continued to receive reports of torture and other inhuman or degrading treatment by government forces. As of August, IMLU had documented 12 cases of torture, most of which were allegedly perpetrated by police.
Police reportedly used torture and violence during interrogations as well as to punish both pretrial detainees and convicted prisoners. According to human rights NGOs, physical battery, bondage in painful positions, and electric shock were the most common methods of torture used by police. In June an inmate serving a life sentence at Naivasha Maximum Prison died after prison wardens allegedly beat and tortured him for not properly waiting in line for food. In September a court ordered medical examinations for suspects involved in a bank robbery following claims they had been tortured during police interrogations.
In October, MUHURI stated it planned to take legal action against police officers who allegedly assaulted residents of Lamu East while searching for a missing police officer. The group stated it was investigating acts of brutality against civilians, including small children, the majority of whom police allegedly assaulted in their homes.
A range of human rights organizations and media reported police committed torture and indiscriminate violence with impunity. For example there were numerous press and NGO reports of police brutality against protesters and unarmed citizens (see section 3). In June several health workers in Kirinyaga alleged they were beaten and kicked by riot police dispersing protests against poor working terms and conditions.
A KNCHR report released in November 2018 documented 201 cases of sexual assault in nine counties emanating from the postelection violence, primarily during periods of increased civil unrest. The study found police and other security officers committed 55 percent of the documented sexual assaults (see section 6). The report indicated KNCHR turned over its findings to IPOA for official inquiry. IPOA completed its investigations, but no information was available on the outcome of the cases.
Prison and Detention Center Conditions
Human rights organizations reported prison, detention center, and police station conditions were harsh due to overcrowding, food and water shortages, and inadequate sanitary conditions and medical care. A Directorate of Prisons Health Services in the Kenya Prisons Service (PS) oversees health and hygiene issues.
Physical Conditions: According to the PS, as of September 2018 there were 51,130 persons held in prisons with a designated capacity of 26,837. More than 90 percent of prisoners were men. According to its website, the PS includes 118 correction facilities, 115 of which are for adult offenders and three for minors. While the PS noted seven prisons have been constructed since 2012, serious overcrowding was the norm, with an average prisoner population of nearly 200 percent capacity, swollen by a large pretrial detainee population, and some prisons held up to 400 percent of capacity. Authorities continued a “decongestion” program that entailed releasing petty offenders and encouraging the judiciary to increase use of the Community Service Orders program in its sentencing.
The PS reported 131 deaths between January and September 2018, many attributable to illness caused or exacerbated by overcrowding, lack of access to clean water, poor hygiene, and inadequate medical care. According to a 2017 study by the National Council on the Administration of Justice (NCAJ), sanitary facilities were inadequate, and tuberculosis remained a serious problem at eight prisons.
In 2017 the NCAJ reported that, despite the legal requirement to separate male prisoners from women and children, the mixing of genders and ages remained a problem in some police station detention facilities and court holding cells. Of the facilities inspected by IPOA between October 2018 and September, only 71.2 percent had separate cells for adult female offenders, 8.5 percent had separate cells for female juvenile offenders, and 16.1 percent had separate cells for male juvenile offenders. Sexual abuse of female prisoners was a problem. Human rights groups reported police routinely engaged in nonconsensual sex with female prisoners, and many female inmates resorted to prostitution to obtain necessities, such as sanitary items and underwear, not provided by the Prisons Service.
Authorities generally separated minors from adults except during the initial detention period at police stations, when authorities often held adults and minors of both sexes in a single cell. Minors often mixed with the general prison population during lunch and exercise periods, according to the Coalition for Constitutional Interpretation, a domestic NGO. Prison officials reported that, because there were few correction facilities for minors, authorities often had to transport them long distances to serve their sentences, spending nights at police stations under varying conditions along the way.
The law allows children to stay with their inmate mothers in certain circumstances until age four or until arrangements for their care outside the facilities are concluded, whichever is earlier.
Prisoners generally received three meals a day, but portions were inadequate. The PS stated in August 2018 it no longer served a penal diet for punishment. Water shortages, a problem both inside and outside of prison, continued. Prisoners generally spent most of their time indoors in inadequately lit and poorly ventilated cellblocks.
Administration: Mechanisms for prisoners to report abuse and other concerns continued due to collaboration between the PS and the KNCHR to monitor human rights standards in prisons and detention facilities. By law the Commission on the Administration of Justice serves as ombudsman on government administration of prisons. It is to receive and treat as confidential correspondence from inmates and recommend remedies to address their concerns, including those pertaining to prison living conditions and administration. Many government-designated human rights officers lacked necessary training, and some prisons did not have a human rights officer.
Noncustodial community service programs and the release of some petty offenders alleviated prison overcrowding to a degree. The total prison population did not decrease substantially, however, because of unaffordable bail and bond terms for pretrial detainees, high national crime rates, overuse of custodial sentencing, and a high number of death-row and life-imprisoned inmates. Legal rights NGOs and prison officials reported overuse of the charge of “robbery with violence” that may carry a life sentence, even when violence or threats to violence were insignificant. Some petty offenders consequently received disproportionately heavy sentences.
Prison officials sometimes denied prisoners and detainees the right to contact relatives or lawyers. Family members who wanted to visit prisoners commonly reported bureaucratic obstacles that generally required a bribe to resolve. According to the Legal Resources Foundation, prisoners had reasonable access to legal counsel and other official visitors, although there was insufficient space in many prisons and jails to meet with visitors in private and conduct confidential conversations.
Independent Monitoring: The government permitted prison visits by independent nongovernmental observers.
d. Arbitrary Arrest or Detention
The law prohibits arrest or detention without a court order unless there are reasonable grounds for believing a suspect has committed or is about to commit a criminal offense. Police, however, arrested and detained persons arbitrarily, accused them of more severe crimes than they had committed, or accused them of a crime to mask underlying police abuses.
Poor casework, incompetence, and corruption undermined successful prosecutions. Police also frequently failed to enter detainees into custody records, making it difficult to locate them. Dispute resolution at police stations resolved a significant number of crimes, but authorities did not report or record them, according to human rights organizations.
Witness harassment and fear of retaliation severely inhibited the investigation and prosecution of major crimes. The Witness Protection Agency was underfunded, doubts about its independence were widespread, and the Supreme Court cited its weaknesses as a serious judicial shortcoming. It cooperated closely with IPOA and other investigative bodies.
Human rights activists reported that at times police officers in charge of taking complaints at the local level were the same ones who committed abuses. Police officials resisted investigations and jailed some human rights activists for publicly registering complaints against government abuses.
Research by a leading legal advocacy and human rights NGO found police used disciplinary transfers of officers to hide their identities and frustrate investigations into their alleged crimes. Many media and civil society investigations into police abuse ended after authorities transferred officers, and police failed to provide any information about their identities or whereabouts.
Arrest Procedures and Treatment of Detainees
The law provides police with broad powers of arrest. Police officers may make arrests without a warrant if they suspect a crime occurred, is happening, or is imminent. Victims’ rights NGOs reported that in some cases authorities required victims to pay bribes and to provide transportation for police to a suspect’s location to execute a legal arrest warrant.
The constitution’s bill of rights provides significant legal protections, including provisions requiring arrested persons to be arraigned, charged, informed of the reason for continuing their detention, or released within 24 hours of their arrest as well as provisions requiring the issuance of a writ of habeas corpus to allow a court to determine the lawfulness of detention. In many cases, however, authorities did not follow the prescribed time limits. According to the attorney general in a response to a questionnaire from the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in 2013, “an unexplained violation of a constitutional right will normally result in an acquittal.” While authorities in many cases released detainees held longer than the prescribed period, some cases did not result in an acquittal, and authorities provided no compensation for time served in pretrial detention.
Police used excessive force in some cases when making arrests. IPOA investigated allegations of excessive force that led to serious injuries, but few cases led to convictions.
The constitution establishes the right of suspects to bail unless there are compelling reasons militating against release. There is a functioning bail system, and all suspects, including those accused of capital offenses, are eligible for bail. Many suspects remained in jail for months pending trial because of their inability to post bail. Due to overcrowding in prisons, courts rarely denied bail to individuals who could pay it, even when the circumstances warranted denial. For example NGOs that worked with victims of sexual assault complained authorities granted bail to suspects even in cases in which there was evidence they posed a continuing threat to victims.
Although the law provides pretrial detainees with the right to access family members and attorneys, family members of detainees frequently complained authorities permitted access only upon payment of bribes. When detainees could afford counsel, police generally permitted access to attorneys.
Arbitrary Arrest: Police arbitrarily arrested and detained persons. Victims of arbitrary arrest were generally poor young men, particularly those living in informal settlements. Human rights organizations complained security forces made widespread arbitrary arrests and detentions during counterterrorism operations. These arrests in particular targeted ethnic Somalis and Kenyan Muslims.
In December 2018 the High Court ordered six police officers to pay four million shillings ($39,300) to a lawyer who was arrested and detained illegally, and 3.8 million shillings ($37,300) to 19 other persons who were arrested and detained at the Ongata Rongai police station in 2016 while conducting normal business.
Pretrial Detention: Lengthy pretrial detention was a serious problem and contributed significantly to prison overcrowding. Authorities held some defendants in pretrial detention longer than the statutory maximum term of imprisonment for the crime with which they were charged. The government claimed the average time spent in pretrial detention was 14 days, but there were reports many detainees spent two to three years in prison before their trials were completed. Police from the arresting locale are responsible for bringing detainees from prison to court when hearings are scheduled but often failed to do so, forcing detainees to wait for the next hearing of their cases (see section 1.e.).
Detainee’s Ability to Challenge Lawfulness of Detention before a Court: The law entitles persons arrested or detained to challenge in court the legal basis or arbitrary nature of their detention, but that right was not always protected.
e. Denial of Fair Public Trial
The constitution provides for an independent judiciary, although the government did not always respect judicial impartiality. The government sometimes undermined the independence of the judiciary.
Reform of the judiciary continued. In August 2018 the director of public prosecution (DPP) directed anticorruption authorities to investigate the judiciary over allegations of misuse and loss of court funds. On August 28, 2018, authorities arrested the deputy chief justice for suspected corruption. She faced charges of abuse of office for personal gain and undermining public integrity in the judiciary. The High Court dismissed the case against her in May after ruling police failed to collect evidence properly. The DPP appealed the decision and filed a petition to remove her from office. Authorities generally respected court orders, and the outcomes of trials did not appear to be predetermined.
In September the DPP charged a magistrate with alleged involvement in the disappearance of narcotics exhibits worth 30 million shillings ($295,000). The Kenya Magistrates and Judges Association filed a lawsuit, arguing the filing of charges violated judicial independence. The High Court dismissed the charges in December.
The Judicial Service Commission (JSC)–a constitutionally mandated oversight body intended to insulate the judiciary from political pressure–provides the president with a list of nominees for judicial appointment. The president selects one of the nominees for parliamentary approval. The president appoints the chief justice and appellate and High Court judges through this process. The commission publicly reviews judicial appointees.
In February the judiciary issued the State of the Judiciary and the Administration of Justice Report for 2017-18, which cited more than 60,000 cases pending in court between five and 10 years. The judiciary improved its case clearance rate during the year and substantially reduced case backlog by increasing the number of judges sitting daily on the bench. In August the JSC recommended the appointment of 30 judges, of whom 20 were to serve in the Environment and Land Courts and the other 10 in the Environment and Labor Relations Court. This recruitment would increase the number of judges assigned to the specialized courts from 45 to 75.
The constitution gives the judiciary authority to review appointments and decisions made by other branches of government. Parliament generally adhered to judicial decisions, with some exceptions.
The law provides for qadi courts that adjudicate Muslim law on marriage, divorce, and inheritance among Muslims. There are no other traditional courts. The national courts use the traditional law of an ethnic group as a guide in personal matters, as long as it does not conflict with statutory law.
The law provides for the right to a fair public trial, although vulnerable individuals may give some testimony in closed session; the independent judiciary generally enforced this right. The law provides for a presumption of innocence, and defendants have the right to attend their trials, confront witnesses, and present witnesses and evidence in their defense. The law also provides defendants the right to receive prompt and detailed information on the charges against them, with free interpretation if necessary, including during trials; to be tried without undue delay; to have access to government-held evidence; to be represented by an attorney of their choice or to have one appointed at the state’s expense if substantial injustice would otherwise result; and not to be compelled to testify or confess guilt, and if convicted, to appeal to or apply for review by a higher court. Authorities generally respected these rights, although they did not always promptly inform persons of the charges against them. In January 2018 Chief Justice David Maraga launched the National Committee on Criminal Justice Reforms to coordinate justice sector reform. As part of these reforms, the NCAJ continued efforts to disseminate Active Case Management Guidelines to court users committees and planned to hold at least nine regional workshops in 2019 and 2020.
The NCAJ and ODPP continued efforts to disseminate speedy case resolution techniques to reduce case backlog and ease prison congestion. The ODPP developed plea-bargaining and diversion guidelines and continued to educate stakeholders on the role of speedy resolution mechanisms in enhancing efficiency. In March the ODPP implemented the second phase of the All for Justice Remand Review Program in Lamu. The project’s objective was to implement speedy case resolution mechanisms, including plea bargaining and diversion.
Trial delays sometimes resulted because witnesses failed to present themselves, judges cancelled trial dates without notice, witnesses were not protected, prosecutors did not have police files, or legal counsel failed to appear. Authorities generally respected a defendant’s right to consult with an attorney in a timely manner. Defendants generally had adequate time to prepare a defense if they were capable of doing so. The government and courts generally respected these rights. There was no government-sponsored public defenders service, and courts continued to try the vast majority of defendants without representation because they could not afford legal counsel.
The National Legal Aid Service facilitates access to justice, with the ultimate goal of providing pro bono services for indigent defendants who cannot afford legal representation. Other pro bono legal aid was available only in major cities where some human rights organizations, notably the Federation of Women Lawyers, an international NGO, provided it.
The ODPP’s All for Justice Remand Review 2018 Report established that only 5 percent of persons in pretrial detention could afford the services of a lawyer. To address this gap, Kenya Prisons Services collaborated with various paralegal organizations such as Kituo Cha Sheria, Legal Resources Foundation Trust, and Africa Prisons Project to establish justice centers within prisons to facilitate delivery of legal aid. Pretrial detainees also received instructions on how to self-represent in court. Government-established special committees, which included paralegals and prison officials, also served to increase prisoners’ access to the judicial system. NGOs noted there was no single system providing “primary justice” to prisoners and detainees, who instead relied on a patchwork of services largely provided by NGOs.
Discovery laws are not clearly defined, handicapping defense lawyers. Implementation of a High Court ruling requiring provision of written statements to the defense before trial remained inconsistent. Defense lawyers often did not have access to government-held evidence before a trial. There were reports the government sometimes invoked the Official Secrets Act as a basis for withholding evidence.
Defendants may appeal a verdict to the High Court and ultimately to the Court of Appeal and, for some matters, to the Supreme Court.
The ODPP significantly increased the number of trained prosecutors during the year. According to the ODPP, as of June there were an estimated 717 state prosecutors, compared with 200 in 2013, as well as 402 support staff. The expansion of the prosecution service reduced delays in court proceedings. The ODPP suffered high staff turnover, largely due to the judiciary offering better pay. To fill the gap, the office increased recruiting efforts. In August the ODPP commenced the process to hire an additional 142 prosecutors by the end of the year. To address the high turnover, the Salary and Remuneration Commission approved a salary increase (approximately 40 percent) for prosecutors.
Political Prisoners and Detainees
There were no reports of political prisoners or detainees.
Civil Judicial Procedures and Remedies
Individuals may use the civil court system to seek damages for violations of human rights and may appeal decisions to the Supreme Court as well as to the African Court of Justice and Human Rights.
According to human rights NGOs, bribes, extortion, and political considerations influenced the outcomes in some civil cases. Court fees for filing and hearing civil cases effectively barred many from access to the courts. NGOs reported the government has been slow to comply with court orders requiring compensation for victims of torture and other police abuses in some cases. Groups also reported victims relied on civil society organizations for rehabilitative services.
There is no established system for restitution or compensation for those declared to be squatters and ordered to vacate land. Both private and communal clashes were common because of land disputes. The government used forced eviction and demolition to regain what it claimed was illegally occupied public land.
In 2017 the African Union Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights ruled in favor of the indigenous Ogiek community evicted in 2009 from the Mau Forest. The court ruled government actions had violated seven articles of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights, to which the country is a signatory. The ruling gave the government until November 2017 to address the violations and provide a report. The government task force established to implement the decision completed a progress report in October 2018 that has not been publicly released. In November the government extended the taskforce’s mandate until January 24, 2020. The court-imposed remedies have not been implemented to date.
The government proceeded with two rounds of evictions in August 2018 and again between October and November this year to remove those settled “illegally” in Mau Forest and restore the natural environment for the forest. The government also publicly stated land titles had been irregularly and unlawfully issued and were not valid. A group of settlers filed a petition to stop the evictions, but the Environment and Land Court in Narok dismissed the case, ruling the court did not have the appropriate jurisdiction.
In June members of an organization working to protect the land rights of the Ogiek people living in the Mau Forest received death threats. In October a Kenya Forest Service officer was shot with an arrow, allegedly by members of the local community. According to human rights activists, the evictions during the year occurred without injuries or deaths. The reported number of evictees ranges from 4,000 to 10,000 households. Human rights groups and some politicians called for the government to offer compensation or resettlement assistance.
In 2018 members of the Sengwer community protested against their 2017 eviction from Embobut Forest in Elgeyo Marakwet County and called on the government to recognize them as a tribe. The government reportedly has new plans to reclaim Embobut Forest as well as Marmanet Forest in Laikipia County. In October members of the Sengwer Community walked to Nairobi to deliver a petition to President Kenyatta to stop evictions from the forest.
f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence
The constitution and law prohibit such actions, except “to promote public benefit,” but authorities sometimes infringed on citizens’ privacy rights. The law permits police to enter a home without a search warrant if the time required to obtain a warrant would prejudice an investigation. Although security officers generally obtained search warrants, they occasionally conducted searches without warrants in the course of large-scale security sweeps to apprehend suspected criminals or to seize property believed stolen. For example, in 2017, according to multiple press and NGO reports, police conducted house-to-house operations in Kisumu County in connection with protests in the wake of the August 2017 election. In one of the homes, police allegedly beat a husband, wife, and their six-month-old daughter (known as “Baby Pendo”). The KNCHR confirmed the infant died of her injuries in September 2017. In November 2017 IPOA completed its investigation into the infant’s death and referred the case to the ODPP for potential prosecution. The ODPP declined to prosecute due to lack of evidence identifying the culpable officers. IPOA then referred the case to a magistrate for a public inquest. In February the magistrate found five senior police officers culpable in the death of the infant and forwarded the inquest results to the ODPP to press charges. She also ordered the DPP to investigate 31 other police officers who may have been involved in the infant’s death.
Human rights organizations reported police officers raided homes in informal settlements in Nairobi and communities in the coast region in search of suspected terrorists and weapons. The organizations documented numerous cases in which plainclothes police officers searched residences without a warrant, and household goods were confiscated when residents were unable to provide receipts of purchase on demand.
The government launched a National Integrated Identity Management System during the year through the Statute Law (Miscellaneous Amendments) Act No. 18 of 2018. This act requires citizens to register their personal details, including biometrics and DNA, in order to receive a unique identifier required to access public services. Civil society organizations called on the government to safeguard the collection and sharing of this information. In November the government enacted a new data protection law outlining guidelines for data handling and sharing by the government and the private sector.