Low turn up and absence of vital equipment characterized day one of the highly anticipated Mass registration for National Identity Cards.
Monday marked the beginning of the four months in which Ugandans shall register and apply for their first ever national identity cards. The exercise is targeted at 18 million Ugandans from the age of 16 and above in 7410 parishes.
However, when the media visited East Kololo primary school in Kampala, only 48 persons had turned up for registration by lunch time while at Victory Church Centre in Kibuli only 28 had turned up by midday.
The National Security Information System Project secretariat is supposed to deliver a computer kit for all registration centers. These include a laptop, finger print scanner to scan all the ten fingers, a camera, document scanner and signature pad. However, by close of business some registration centers did not have all the required equipment except the printed forms.
Anthony Okware Fabian, the chairman East Kololo area said that they had not received some of the equipment needed to complete the process although he was optimistic that the day would get better.
When contacted, the Internal Affairs Ministry spokesperson Pamela Ankunda told URN that the agencies involved in the registration exercise are aware of these challenges including lack of cameras, chargers and batteries in some areas. However she adds that they could not allow the lack of 20percent of the required equipment stop the exercise in which 80 percent was available.
Ankunda also blames the low turn up on a Muslim Legislator who allegedly went on a radio station and told Muslims not to register saying the exercise is meant to break marriages. She added that other people she referred to as spoilers are misleading people that the exercise is a political, electoral process being done by NRM.
Hajji Abdul Nsubuga the head of the National Security Information System Project Secretariat clarifies that all faiths have been catered for including Muslims especially the men who have been allowed to include four of their spouses on the registration form.
After registration each person gets an identification numbers right away. The information will then be taken to the central storage system in which it will be checked before an ID is printed and issued in September.
Hajji Nsubuga encourages all citizens to go their nearest parishes where they are known preferably parishes in their places of birth. Those who do not have any form of identification, such as persons from the formerly war torn Northern Uganda have been advised to get introductory letters from the area chairpersons.
The exercise is expected to last for the next four months.