UGANDAN MPS VOICE CONCERN AT SLOW ISSUANCE OF NATIONAL ID CARDS NEEDED TO VOTE

KAMPALA, Some Members of Parliament have expressed concern over the delayed issuance of National Identity Cards to Ugandan citizens who registered for them in 2014 and will need them in hand to vote in next month's general election.

The MPs argued that millions of people have not yet been given their IDs which they will need to serve as their voters’ cards in the forthcoming elections.

The concern was first raised by the Speaker of Parliament Rebeccca Kadaga who said: “Many people do not have these cards and they are worried they may not be able to vote. The citizens want their cards.”

Parliamentary commissioner and Wakiso woman MP Rosemary Sseninde said: “I want to add my voice on the concern regarding national IDs. In my district, people are not accessing their cards. Others are charged money to get the cards. The elderly and people with disabilities cannot be tossed up and down.”

Jinja Municipality MP Mwiru Paul said: “Many voters are being disenfranchised. In the old register which the EC (Electoral commission) discarded, I had 41,000 voters (in my constituency) and in the new one extracted from the ID data I have only 26,000 voters.”

Busiro East MP Medard Ssegona said: “A district like Wakiso stretches to the islands beyond Entebbe and you tell someone to go to Wakiso where the district headquarters is. The Government is simply disenfranchising Ugandans. The register extracted by the Electoral Commission from the national ID data is not backed by law.”

Attorney-General Fred Ruhindi explained that the Registration of Persons Act which was passed last year provided for the use of the data by the Electoral Commission.

Minister for Internal Affairs Rose Akol so far 16 million Ugandans had been given their IDs and two million were yet to get their IDs.

“The balance of the two million is mainly within and around Kampala,” Akol said amidst murmurs from mostly opposition legislators who wondered why people in hard to reach areas could get their IDs before those in and around Kampala.

The minister explained that distribution of the cards had been taken to district headquarters because the ministry did not have funds to continue paying the temporary personnel who were helping them to the do the work at the sub-county level.

The issuance of the cards started in December 2014 and was supposed to be completed before the end of 2015.

Source: NEW VISION