CONFLICTING EC; Why Should You Have a National Identity Card Yet You Won’t Choose Your Political Leader!?

Electoral officials count votes at a polling station in Uganda's capital Kampala February 18, 2016 as voting closes. REUTERS/James Akena

By Xpress Times Reporter

Starting up on his journey to the State House, artist, Kyadondo East constituency Legislator and now eyeing the presidency-Ssentamu Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine strongly told his supporters, mostly youths to register for National IDs.

In what he termed “Twebereremu”, Bobi said this because he would by 2021 need the support from them (Youths), the biggest percentage of the Country’s Population to put him in power being a fellow youth.

Changing goal posts

Rolling out the National Identity Cards mass registration in 2015, the Electoral Commission (EC) by and large told every Ugandan 18 years and above that it’s the first requirement if one was to vote for his/her political leader.

Today the same Electoral Commission has moved that the most sought for/after National ID alone doesn’t make one eligible voter. What a big conflict!

The move that has widely been criticized largely by politicians and other stakeholders, has, been argued by the Jinja Road electoral body that it’s an apparent move to reorganize the process and demarcate all polling stations countrywide.

Disguised campaign/procedures

Mid-week, the EC launched an awareness campaign throughout the country aiming at re-organizing polling stations where, some will be merged, others created and some voters re-located, in a bid to smoothen the electoral process with transparency.

Flagging off the campaign on Wednesday, the EC Chairman Simon Mugenyi Byabakama unveiled a detailed guidelines for countrywide re-organisation of polling stations in preparation for the 2020/2021 general elections, saying if well-followed, lesser inaccuracies will be observed by both voters and the electoral body.

The exercise will be conducted in accordance with Section 12 (1) (d) and Section 33 of the Electoral Commission Act as well as Section 30 (1) of the Presidential Election Act 2005, which mandates them to establish and operate polling stations within in each Parish or Ward of every Electoral District.

“The Commission would therefore like to inform the general public that ahead of the 2020/2021 general elections, it is planning to reorganize Polling Stations across the country to enable voters to conveniently cast their votes,” Sam Rwakojo EC Secretary declared at a function held at their headquarters along Jinja Road.

According to the reforms, each parish/ward and electoral area at Sub County level has got at least one polling station and that each polling station has suitable numbers, is conveniently located and appropriately named.

Procedurally according to the re-organisations, there will be splitting, merging, relocating, re-naming, and/or creation of new polling stations as well as updating villages on the register.

The procedures are exercised and supervised by Parish Supervisors/reorganization officials, Sub-county supervisors, Returning officers, Party agents and Local leaders. The exercise will also lead to crucial updates in the National Voters Register.

“Whereas the National ID is a necessity to have as a voter, it doesn’t necessarily make one an eligible voter. One has to be on the National Voters Register to be eligible to cast their votes,” EC Chairman Byabakama told the media.

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