President Museveni told on Sunday how the lack of a national ID system helped him and his boyhood peers to escape arrest and vote several times.
But with that memory, the president is now determined that such disorder should end. Museveni is confident that once the new computerized national identity cards are issued to all Ugandans, multiple voting and rigging will be next to impossible.
Addressing a news conference at State Lodge, Nakasero on Sunday, Museveni said the new ID cards would make it impossible for people to register more than once or for an underage person to register as a voter.
The president called journalists to promote the national identity card registration exercise, which began on Monday.
“I remember in the 1962 election. I was 18 years but my brother, the late Eriya Kategaya, who was a year younger than me voted eight times. With this card it will be impossible to vote more than once,” Museveni said.
Museveni said a digitalized ID is difficult to forge because a person’s picture, names, biometric details and fingerprints are stored in the computer’s central memory. The president said the new IDs would also be vital in saving lives because they contain data about somebody’s blood group.
“In case of an accident, the doctors would be assisted to know what type of blood they need to give a patient without much ado,” he said.
Serial bank loan defaulters will also have it rough when the IDs come on board, Museveni said, because banks will know everybody who defaulted on hisher debt in any bank.
“Somebody gets a loan from bank A and does not pay. Heshe goes to bank B, gets a loan and does not pay. Yet bank A does not know that that individual got a loan from bank B,” Museveni said.
Yet more importantly, Museveni said, the IDs would help in fighting fraud, impersonation and misrepresentation. Museveni said when he was engaged in anti-Amin activities in the early 1970s, he used multiple student IDs to evade arrest at roadblocks.
“I would just put my photo in one of the student IDs and soldiers would not detect me. But if we had such digitized IDs, we would have been arrested,” he said.
The exercise is being overseen by the ministry of Internal Affairs, which is working with the Electoral Commission, Directorate of Citizenship and Immigration Control, National Information Technology Authority (NITA), Uganda Registration Services Bureau, Internal Security Organisation (ISO) and External Security Organisation (ESO).
At each parish, there will be registrars who will handle the registration kit and citizen verifiers like LC-I chairpersons. Each parish has also been given a laptop, a special camera for taking photographs, a fingerprint scanner, a signature pad for capturing each person’s signature and a document scanner for scanning people’s identification documents.
Those eligible for registration include: every person born in Uganda, one of whose parents or grandparents is or was a member of any of the indigenous communities residing within the country’s borders by 1926 every person who has legally and voluntarily migrated to and has been living in Uganda for at least 10 years every person married to a Ugandan or was once married to a Ugandan and those who has lived continuously in Uganda since October 9, 1962. The exercise will cost at least Shs 282 billion.
Hours after the exercise kicked off on Monday, Internal Affairs Minister Gen Aronda Nyakairima told a joint press briefing with Buganda Katikkiro Charles Peter Mayiga at Bulange that some of the required equipment was not yet in the country.
“All the equipment we need [for the exercise] is not yet in the country. It is being delivered in batches… we expect that by the end of the month, the manufacturer will have delivered,” said Nyakairima.
In the meantime, he said, the registrars will be helping the citizens to fill in the registration forms.
Source : The Observer