The internal affairs minister has warned that any official implicated in fraudulent activity in the ongoing ID registration faces arrest.
By Cyprian Musoke, Brian Mayanja & A. Ssenyonga
The internal affairs minister General Aronda Nyakairima has said his ministry has so far registered over four million people in the 18 regions, but has come out strong against fraudulent activity during the ID registration process.
The overall target it to register 18 million Ugandans who are 16 and above.
The minister says initial constraints to the process have now been overcome, with all districts now having the enrolment equipment.
In a strong message delivered on Thursday at the registration headquarters in Kololo, he issued a stern warning to all crafty local leaders asking for bribes in order to issue registration papers or LC identification to use in the on-going ID process.
While addressing the press, Aronda said any such person caught will be arrested.
He said there is “serious progress” in the registration exercise, and admitted that although all the 120 districts in the country have the necessary equipment, the kits were brought in batches – which was a problem.
8000 kits have so far been distributed and 450 kits are distributed weekly to districts and municipalities around the country, which the minister feels has helped improve the enrolment exercise.
‘Free of charge’
The exercise started April 14 and was scheduled to last for four months.
The minister called for vigilance and active participation in curbing fraudulent activity.
“Whoever sees someone soliciting for a bribe or inducement to help another fill the papers, please report to the nearest police station. We have enough [registration] papers and they are not for sale. They are free of charge,” he told reporters.
He called on the police, resident district commissioners, and district enrolment officers to apprehend people who he said are sabotaging a good national project by asking for sh2000 up to 10,000 in exchange for forged birth and marriage certificates and pre-signed LC letters.
ID registration gear being brought in
The requirement of birth and marriage certificates, which was problematic at first as most people lacked them, was waived for recognition by LCs.
But some LCs reportedly started to abuse the process.
Asked whether they will extend the exercise if the target (of 18 million people) is not achieved within time frame, he had this to say.
“We have a roadmap and we are trying to complete within the time frame. We are on the move, and we will see what to do when we get there. Nevertheless, we have to go to the war.”
Citing areas of Rubaga, Mityana, Mubende, Masaka and Gulu, Aronda explained that the local area chairmen and enrolment officers are under probe for asking bribes from citizens.
“RDCs, police, intelligence, CAOs and registration officers should be on the look-out for these guys because they are delaying the exercise. These criminal acts should stop bothering our people who have taken this message seriously,” he cautioned.
“We are going to demolish these roadblocks in order to hit the deadline. These selfish individuals want to maintain ghosts.”
The minister was also asked what punishment would be given to those caught.
“We have the anti-corruption court and sufficient legal instruments to punish these guys. This is a prior warning that we are going to go on the offensive against these people.”
Aronda warns against ID registration fraud