Low Turnout Mars Voters’ Register Update Exercise

The ongoing update of the National Voters Register could be jeopardized by the low turnout especially in urban centers, URN has observed.

The exercise, which started on April 7, includes registration of new eligible voters, transfer of particulars for persons intending to move to new locations, confirmation of particulars by existing voters and correcting errors.

It runs up to April 30, 2015. The commission plans to verify details of about 14 million Ugandans using data collected during the National Identity Card registration exercise last year.

However, an assessment by a URN reporter in Kampala indicates that a small number of voters have embraced the exercise. Paul Mugisha, the update official at Kamwokya market center in Nakawa division said that less than 15 people turn up to verify their particulars on a daily basis.

The center has up to 6,000 registered voters. Hamza Musamali, an update officer at Wandegeya B in Central division, said the turnout was only good at the start of the exercise.

However, several persons did not have information on the polling centers, to which they belong. He said some people shunned the exercise on a belief that owning a National Identity Card is an automatic entry into the voters’ register.

Several other centers in Kampala are idle with no persons showing up to verify particulars. However, some voters especially those who enrolled during the National Identity Card registration say it is not cost-effective for them to travel to upcountry polling centers to verify and update their details. Allan Toko said the update is wastage of personal resources.

Lillian Anguparu Munguleni registered in Gulu and currently resides in Muyenga in Kampala. She aised that the Electoral Commission should devise alternatives for people who operate from distant areas.

Paul Bukenya, the Electoral Commission deputy public relations and media manager, said they are already exploring alternatives because reports from the various districts across the country indicate that there is low turnout for the exercise everywhere.

“Maybe the numbers will pick up but there is that tendency of people to come towards the end of the exercise,” Bukenya said on Friday.

He, however, appealed to people to use the remaining days to have their details verified.


Source : The Observer