Uganda’s Internal Affairs Minister General Aronda Nyakairima has dismissed allegations by Hon. Muwanga Kivumbi that the National ID project’s hidden agenda is to enable the ruling government rig the 2016 general elections.
This was during the Minister’s appearance before Parliament’s Defence and Internal Affairs Committee to give updates on the ID project and the internal security following the Westgate Mall attack in Nairobi, Kenya.
Aronda was informing the committee on how the Internal Affairs ministry intends to carry out registration for the National ID project. He had explained that it was important to ensure the process was completed before 2016 to help the government with a census of the nationals, voter registration and nationality.
He informed the committee that the ID registration would begin with persons aged 16 years and above. This is because the 16 year olds would be eligible to vote by 2016.
Aronda said a committee had been formed to incorporate several government departments in the project.
But Kivumbi instead accused Aronda of allowing his ministry to be used by President Yoweri Museveni and the National Resistance Movement (NRM) to enable them rig the 2016 elections.
Kivumbi noted that Aronda’s ministerial approval had met a lot of resistance from the House. He tasked the former Chief of Defence Forces (CDF) to assure the MPs the committee’s undertaking was not part of a strategy to rig the 2016 elections.
Aronda defended his committee’s work and pointed out that the exercise had been designed nationally by Parliament and Cabinet in order to register nationals. He explained that the intent of the exercise was to ensure all Ugandans can be identified by an ID.
Aronda said that the ID project would help security officials to fight crime in the country. It would also help in apprehending people trying to escape from their responsibilities like bank loan defaulters. In passing, he said such an ID would help to eliminate the problem of multiple voting.
Aronda clarified that the National Census does not contradict registration for National Id and pledged to provide the committee with the strategy and scope of undertakings.
He said that they want to get national data to be part of the national information register so that all those in need of data will access the register and get it.
James Baba, the State Minister for Internal Affairs, restated Aronda’s point that the project was being handled by several government departments concerned with population statistics.
He told the committee that the departments are to be used for the production of the national identity cards. He said that cabinet asked the Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi to work with the government departments in a sequence manner and reconcile their budget allocations to do a mass registration next year.
This will be done on people aged 16 who are expected to be 18 by 2016 at Kololo Independence ground and all the machines are to be transported from the Entebbe offices were they have always been kept to Kololo.