Government Faulted for Poor Planning over Registration of Persons Bill

2296 Views Kampala, Uganda

In short
Persons who refuse to take part in the registration, persons who give false information and persons who forge identifications will be liable for a fine not exceeding Ugx 960,000 or imprisoned for up to three years upon conviction, the bill suggests.

Members of Parliament have questioned the relevance of the recently tabled registration of Persons Bill, a law that seeks to endorse compulsory registration of all persons in Uganda.

Internal affairs minister Gen Aronda Nyakairima tabled the bill before parliament early this week for its first reading and noted that once passed into law, it would harmonize all other regulations on registration of persons. 

Besides the registration, the bill provides for mandatory use of National Identification Cards where all public service providers shall require the production of a national identification number or national identification card or alien's identification number or alien's identification card before the service is provided.

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However several members of parliament have questioned the timing of the bill saying that it's tabling reflects poor planning in central government. The concern is in reference to the recent mass enrollment Programme through which data for the production of national identity cards and voters' register, among other documents was collected.

Members argue that the Registration of Persons law was very critical before the process kicked off.
 
"We have gone through registration for the last four months, at that time we asked for the law to proceed with the registration. Now the process is five months under way, what will be the results of the law?" Kassiano asked.

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Similarly Kasese Woman MP Winnie Kizza faults government for operating in ‘reverse mode'.  Kiiza says the bill may not have any consequence since the main registration phase was already undertaken in the absence of a law.
 
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Kilak County MP Gilbert Oulanyah equally argues that the bill would be relevant before the mass enrollment was effected and adds that the bill may not have serious effect in case it's challenged before courts of law.

Maruzi County MP Maxwell Akora added that government should have started the registration exercise with an enabling law to govern the process, empower authorities involved and enable citizens understand the reason for registration. He however believes that the law is still relevant as a point to address omissions in the mass enrollment programme.

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Some of the services listed under the law where a person would be required to produce a National ID include employment, identification of voters, application for and issuance of a passport, opening of bank accounts, purchase of insurance policies, the purchase, transfer and registration of land, pension and social security transactions among others.

Persons who refuse to take part in the registration, persons who give false information and persons who forge identifications will be liable for a fine not exceeding Ugx 960,000 or imprisoned for up to three years upon conviction, the bill suggests.

It further proposes a fine of Ugx 1.44m and a prison sentence of up to five years for any registration officer who discloses or transfers data from the national register to any other person without authority.
 
 

 

About the author

Olive Nakatudde
Olive Nakatudde is a URN journalist based in Kampala. Nakatudde has been a URN staff member since 2013.

Nakatudde started out in journalism in 2009 with Dembe FM radio in Kampala. In 2012, Nakatudde joined Voice of Africa as a political reporter. She has been a photographer since her journalism school days at Makerere University.

Nakatudde is interested in good governance and public policy, which she reports on intensively from the Uganda Parliament. She is a keen follower of cultural affairs in Buganda Kingdom and covers the kingdom's Lukiiko (parliament). Nakatudde also reports on education and health.