By Max Patrick Ocaido
The Electoral Commission (EC) has announced that no Ugandan will be disenfranchised on the basis of lack of a National Identification Card on the voting day for as long as their name appears on the national voters’ register.
The Commission’s Secretary General who is also the accounting officer, Sam Rwakoojo said that the electoral officers will only use a voter’s ID generated from the information provided to them by the National Identification and Registration Authority (NIRA). In other words, an eligible voter will not be required to carry or present a National ID on polling day.
“Right now NIRA is registering and an individual is required to fill a form with all your particulars including one’s preferred polling station which will be used to process a national ID. It is this information that NIRA sends to us to generate a voter’s ID. So when we are preparing our national register, we generate a voter’s number and not the national ID,” Rwakoojo said.
“So when you come to vote, that Voter’s number [that will be given to you] is fed in our machine for verification purposes. Therefore, whether you have a national ID or not, you will be able to vote for as long as you registered with NIRA.”
Rwakoojo was speaking while interacting with online media journalists under their umbrella- Online Media Publishers Association (OMPA) during the breakfast dialogue at Hotel Africana on Tuesday about the 2021 Roadmap.
He added that the National ID will only be applicable when one’s name goes missing from the National Voter’s register.
“If you have your National ID and your name is not on the national voters' register then we shall get information from the national ID to check with our system,” he said.
However, EC Spokesperson Joram Taremwa said that whereas the Commission will not require presentation of a national ID on the polling day, it is important for citizens to register with NIRA for a national ID because it is that information that they (EC) use to generate the national register.
“For one to vote they must be a Ugandan and in order to prove that then one must have a national ID. But on the day of polling, it is not necessary for as long as your name is on the register,” Taremwa said adding that the Commission will also continue using voter location slip to enable citizens easily locate their polling points to avoid inconveniences.
Meanwhile, EC’s Rwakoojo commended online media for getting on top of their game in playing their informative role by breaking the news first. He, however, cautioned them on professionalism and urged them to publish authentic and dependable content devoid of fake news.
OMPA President Giles Muhame requested EC to avail a portion of the budget on advertising and sponsorship to online media publishers which have for the last 5 years gained momentum.