“Government is paying money on a decentralized system for the Organisation. We have to know what happens in the districts. Why can’t some of these services be executed in the districts? Why do you have to bring the whole Uganda here [in Kololo] and expose our weaknesses?” Biribonwa questions why all services are being offered at the Kololo-based NIRA headquarters.
The newly appointed board chairperson of the National
Identification and Registration Authority(NIRA), James Biribonwa has tasked the authority
management to explain the detailed process of National ID replacement and
explain why it takes long.
Biribonwa, who was presiding at the inaugural NIRA
governing Board meeting at the Kololo based ID Authority offices said the detailed
report must be produced at the Board’s next meeting. The Board held its inaugural meeting last week on Thursday.
“Government is paying money on a decentralized system for
the Organisation. We have to know what happens in the districts. Why can’t some
of these services be executed in the districts? Why do you have to bring the
whole Uganda here (in Kololo) and expose our weaknesses?” Biribonwa questions
why all services are being offered at the Kololo-based NIRA headquarters.
He adds that; “I want to give an assignment to management
to tell us, how long does it take to replace a lost card? And you can benchmark
with the Driving permit people, the Passport people and at our next meeting,
you must deliver to us that time. If a lost driving permit can take a week or
less to replace, why should a National ID take six months or a year?.”
The former commissioner of the Electoral Commission was
appointed by the minister and later approved by Cabinet early this year to head
the Authority Board. He will be deputized by Hon. Ruth Nvumetta Kavuma, a
representative from the members of the Public on the Board.
Judy Obitre-Gama, the NIRA Executive Director says they have noted
the concerns of the stakeholders, citing they will present them to the Board at
its next sitting.
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Justice Simon Byabakama Mugenyi,
the head of the Electoral Commission says NIRA plays a very crucial role in as
far as the work of the Electoral commission is concerned.
Section 65(2) of the
Registration of Persons Act 2015, provides for the Electoral Commission to
access the data/information from NIRA for purposes of updating the National
The EC boss argues that since
one of the requirements for one to be a voter, one must be a citizen, and that
citizenship is verified by NIRA, who have the structures for that purpose.
“In the fulfillment of our
mandate, to compile and maintain the voters register, we go to the NIRA data to
determine who is a citizen and since the Biodata of that particular person will
also be with NIRA, we determine who is a citizen and who is 18 years and above,”
says Justice Byabakama.
Adding that; “Then we import
that date into our system to be in position to access this. This means that
NIRA must be in top notch operational or functional capacity to expedite the
process of registration of citizens.”
The law of Registration of
Persons provides that the National Identity Card shall be required for the
holder to access certain services offered by the state. However, due to
challenges faced by NIRA, the law has not been strictly followed.
Justice Byabakama says the new
NIRA board, on which he is a member will go a long way in ensuring citizens are
given services as fast as possible in order not to be disadvantaged.
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Biribonwa has also directed the
NIRA management to show clearly where the authority stands in regards to the
preparation of the data, required by the Electoral Commission for the 2021
presidential and parliamentary polls.
“I direct management that at our
next meeting, we would want management to give a clear direction of where we
are in terms of the EC road map so that we don’t begin a blame game in the
election time. We want you [management] to assure us that we are ahead of the
Electoral Commission’s roadmap and we will not have problems,” Biribonwa