Colonel Stephen Kwiringira is the new head of National Security Information System project, which is in charge of producing National Identity Cards. He was appointed by General Aronda Nyakairima, the new internal affairs minister.
Colonel Stephen Kwiringira is deputized by Major Kweri Celet Twino and Betty Nasenja, a lawyer in the Directorate of Immigration. Nasenja was involved in the initial national identity card project before it hit a snag. Colonel Kwiringira is the former Head of Information Technology in the UPDF.
His abrupt appointment during a stakeholders meeting recently took other stakeholders like Uganda Registration Services Bureau –URSB, NITA Uganda, UBOS, Electoral Commission (EC), Uganda Revenue Authority (URA), Uganda Police Force (UPF), Prisons Service, Ministries of Local Government, Finance and ICT by surprise.
The appointment by Nyakairima is the last straw in the Directorate of Immigration and Citizenship control’s attempts to shield UPDF from taking control of the national Identity card project. However, sources privy to the identity card project indicate that UPDF is banking on its experience of registering its personnel and perceived popularity amongst Ugandans to execute the project.
Col. Paddy Ankunda, the UPDF spokesperson denies claims that the army has taken firm control of the national identity card project saying it is still under the internal affairs ministry.
He explained that Col. Kwiringira has only been seconded to the project by UPDF.
Issuance of National Identity cards was suspended two months ago amidst reports of inter-agency fights over management of the multi-billion shillings project.
In February, UPDF announced that it had introduced the Integrated Resource Management System in readiness for capturing Ugandans’ bio-metric data, a thing that was brushed off by Ministry of Internal Affairs.
Stephen Kagoda, the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Internal Affairs declined to confirm the appointment of the UPDF Soldier as Project Manager saying that was outside his docket.
He however, says people should be bold enough to execute their job, on what to be in reference to the failure by the Directorate of Citizenship and Immigration control to come out on the appointment.
As government departments bicker of who should execute the national identity card project, the equipment imported for the job continues to waste away at Uganda Printing and Publishing Corporation in Entebbe.