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Activists decry denial of public services over lack of National IDs

By Henry Sekanjako

Added 31st July 2019 09:22 AM

The discriminative tendency retards government’s service delivery agenda of inclusiveness for sustainable development

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Speaker Rebecca Kadaga. Photo by Miriam Namutebi

The discriminative tendency retards government’s service delivery agenda of inclusiveness for sustainable development

Human rights activists have petitioned the speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga, asking Parliament to prevail over government institutions, agencies and private entities who denial citizens public services on grounds of lack of National Identity Cards.

Following the introduction of National Identity Cards, the government announced that access to public and private services by Ugandan citizens will be conditioned to one having a national ID.

Currently, most Ugandans have been denied access to certain services including bank loans, due to lack of national IDs.

“The ministry of health announced plans to have only National Identity card holders enjoy healthcare services at public health facilities, scorning the fact that close to 20% of Ugandans do not have IDs and many others face delays in replacement of lost cards. Several young people have been denied services by financial institutions in the country as financial inclusion is tagged to the ID system,” Eye witness, a local human rights body stated in a petition to Kadaga.

According to the rights’ body, the discriminative tendency retards the government’s service delivery agenda of inclusiveness for sustainable development.

They noted that the lack of national IDs by some Ugandans is being used to discriminate citizens from service delivery, right from financial institutions, government education loan schemes, army recruitment to health services.

They expressed fear that with the forthcoming 2021 general elections, many Ugandans without national IDs will be denied their civic right to vote.

Article 21 of Uganda’s Constitution stipulates that all persons are equal before and under the law in all spheres of political, economic, social and cultural life and in every other respect and shall enjoy equal protection of the law.

As a way forward, the rights’ organization wants Parliament to task relevant government ministries and agencies to halt the denial of public services on grounds of lack of a national ID.

They also want Parliament to establish an independent committee to further investigate this public outcry and put in place mechanism to ensures that the ID system does not only advance government interests, identification and security but prioritizes the perspective, needs and rights of ordinary Ugandans.

“Task the Minister of Internal Affairs to make a statement on the floor of Parliament with a clear commitment to addressing the plight of citizens,” The Petition read in parts.

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