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PWDs Doubt Efficiency of Voters’ Register Verification

The fears come just a day after the Electoral Commission embarked on a nationwide exercise to verify the particulars of voters on the National Voters’ Register and to identify all Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) in each village. This is in preparation for the 2020-2021 General Elections.

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Persons with Disabilities are sceptical that the ongoing National Voters’ Register verification exercise will be effective in compiling their record. 

The fears come just a day after the Electoral Commission embarked on a nationwide exercise to verify the particulars of voters on the National Voters’ Register and to identify all Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) in each village. This is in preparation for the 2020-2021 General Elections.

The verification and identification exercise will be conducted in all villages throughout Uganda from Monday, October 21 to Monday, October 28, 2019. It is purposed to confirm the particulars of all individual’s on the National Voters’ Register, and to compile the Village PWDs Registers, and registers needed for elections involving members of the Special Interest Groups. 

According to guidelines issued by the Electoral Commission, the verification is conducted through Village Council meetings, through which Parish Supervisors read out names in the register to allow officials ascertain whether the person is still in the area, dead, or transferred. The same procedure is used to identify Persons with Disabilities. 

However, the leaders and Persons with Disabilities say the exercise may not be effective in identifying and compiling registers needed for elections involving members of the Special Interest Groups. Luweero District PWD Councilor Herbert Ssekabira says that the Chairpersons do not have the capacity to identify all the 18 categories of PWDs listed by Electoral Commission.   

//Cue in; “But the problem…

Cue out…members.”//    

Luganda // Cue in; “Osanga ekyalo…  

Cue out…n’obudde butono.”//      

George William Lubega, the Chairperson of PWDS in Luweero town says that some of the listed categories of PWDs require medical verification whereas other people live with disabilities which are not easily known to the public. He cited epileptic persons who may not be known by village chairpersons, yet they are listed as PWDs by the electoral commission.    

//Cue in; “Abamu tusobola…

Cue out…mukisa ogwo.”//    

George William Namugera, the Chairperson of Kakoolo Village and Livingstone Lutaaya of Kasana PIIDA say that they were able to identify persons with physical disabilities but could have missed persons with other forms of disabilities. They also decried the low turn up in village councils.   

// Cue in; “Mulimu botasobola…

Cue out…okutegera.”// 

The PWDs now want the EC to use PWD committees to generate their register. 

But Paul Bukenya, the Deputy Spokesperson of the Electoral Commission says that the EC is implementing recommendations by PWDs leaders to use general village councils to identify them.  He explains that earlier on, leaders complained that some PWDs, not known in villages ended up on special interest group registers, yet they want to eliminate such cases.

Bukenya has asked the committee leaders to participate through mobilizing all the PWDs to turn up in village councils for easy identification and inclusion in the SIGs register. He also explained that LC 1 Leaders and Parish supervisors were sensitized to identify the PWDs as listed in 18 categories. 

The National Council for Disability Act defines a Person with Disability as one with substantial functional limitations of daily life activities caused by physical, sensory or mental impairment and environmental barriers.

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