There have been many questions about the National Identity Card registration exercise which started on April 4, 2014, and is expected to end this August, Writes Eriab Mutyaba.
Many people have been wondering who is supposed to register, how old should they be, why register and what will happen if one does not register.
The Ministry of Internal Affairs has answered those questions on several occasions, informing people that it very important to have “identity.” The card would also enable them access loans in financial institutions, access government support and, participate in the 2016 elections. Now there are fears that the exercise might not be completed within the estimated period, because the process seems too slow. So, who is to blame?
Francis Senkindu, one of the officials at Bukoto II Parish, Nakawa Division, Kampala, says that since the beginning of the exercise they have been having challenges including few computers, disruption by rains because it is a rainy season, and many people come to fill forms with no knowledge of the required information. Some are also not comfortable with the English language yet that is what is being used on the forms.
“We shall not be able to register all the people as we expected in Bukoto II Parish because computers are registering only fifty five people a day,” Senkindu says.
He says they estimate a total of over 900,000 voters in the parish yet not even a quarter of them have been registered three months into the exercise.
“The exercise started at Bukenya hall during the first week after which they went to other place like Nsimbiziwome, Butukilwa primary school, Kigoowa church, Ssempala zone and Kalinaabiri which combines two zones, but none of these has registered a half of its citizens,” Senkindu says.
Meanwhile, some people are frustrated, having tried to register but failed. Sekiziyivu Joseph, 25, who resides in Kigoowa, says he has lined up twice and failed to register and he therefore won’t waste his time anymore.
When I asked Mariam Nababi a resident in the same area why she has not registerered she told me that she has not because when she got the time to register the people registering had shifted to another area and that now she does not know their new location.
Another resident who prefers to remain anonymous says he picked a form from Kigowa to take it home and fill it, but that before he could brig it back the registrars had relocated. “Those people are invisible, show me one center here where they register from.” he said angrily
Eve Nagawa, who successfully registered in Kalinaabiri, is only happy. “I appreciate efforts by government to give us National IDs and I encourage all those above 16 to go and register,” She says.