By John Masaba
A body that requires that all Ugandans register and declare their particulars with the government has officially started its work. This follows the appointment last week of its executive director.
Judy Obitre-Gama will oversee the activities of the authority, assisted by the yet to be appointed group of directors.
The appointment of directors is pending the appointment of a board of directors by the minister. This will then be followed by hiring of staff and setting up of operation structures.
According Pamela Ankunda, the interim spokesperson of the authority, Obitre-Gama will officially take over the ongoing issuance of national IDs across the country.
"The bill (Registration of Persons Bill, 2014) was successfully passed and which paved a way for her appointment. She swore in last week," Ankunda said.
Obitre-Gama's appointment brings to an end months of wrangling between Opposition and government over the controversial law.
The law which was passed by parliament in February provides for the mandatory registration of citizens of Uganda, establishment of a National Identification Register and a National Registration and Identification Authority.
Among other highlights of the law is a clause (Section 40 (2)) that gives Electoral Commission (EC) powers to use information from the National Identification register to update the voters' register.
The bill was, however, strenuously opposed by the Opposition, arguing that allowing EC to use data would create room for manipulation ahead of the run-up to the 2016 general election.
Who is Obitre-Gama?
Obitre-Gama has been the board secretary of Uganda Registration Service Bureau (URSB) — the government agency in charge of registration of business, regulating issues of intellectual property and collecting nation tax revenue.
She holds an LLM from the University of London (London School of Economics & Political Science), an LLB (Honors) from Makerere University and a Diploma in Legal Practice from Law Development Centre. She is an advocate of the Courts of Judicature of Uganda.
Obitre-Gama joined URSB as a Board Secretary in July 2012. Previously, she worked as a Lecturer Department of Public and Comparative Law, Faculty of Law, Makerere University.
She also worked as head Legal & Surveillance and Company Secretary for Uganda Securities Exchange Limited and as Environmental Lawyer with the National Environment Management Authority.
National Registration Authority to oversee ID issuance