The Electoral Commission has revealed that the verification of the National Voters’ Register (NVR) and identification of Persons with Disability (PWDs) at the Village level will start on 21st and run through 28th October 2019.
Addressing journalists today at the Commission’s head offices in Kampala, Justice Simon Byabakama Mugenyi, the Chairperson, Electoral Commission said the exercise started yesterday with the briefing of the sub county supervisors.
Today the Commission briefed parish supervisors and LCI chairpersons who are going to carry out the exercise.
The Commission has set aside Shs7.1bn for this important exercise ahead of the 2021 general elections.
“The Commission has encountered complaints of ineligible voters appearing on the Voters’ Register in the concluded by-elections and General Elections. To address these complaints therefore, the Electoral Commission devised a strategy for verification of the voters on the register using the Village Councils,” Byabakama said.
He added: “This strategy has been piloted in some of the by-elections and it has proved very effective. This strategy gives an opportunity for the public to scrutinize the voters on the register and identify the ineligible voters for appropriate action; hence the decision to use it during the update of the NVR.”
He noted that whereas the creation of the National Registration Identification Authority (NIRA) as a Statutory Authority responsible for registration of citizens, birth and death, which made it a requirement to provide a Certificate of Death, as evidence in order to remove particulars of the dead from the National Voters’ Register, NIRA has not been able to register births and deaths across the country.
“Consequently, the National voters’ Register is growing with ineligible voters,” he said, adding: “Further to the above, voters have continued to move from place to place due to various factors,without taking steps to transfer their polling stations. In so doing, they leave their previous polling stations blotted.”
He added that the rapid creation of administrative units has brought forth a high cost of maintaining a stable National Voters’ Register and consequently a higher cost to election administration altogether.
“These above mentioned factors directly impact on the quality of the National Voters’ Register, which need to be urgently addressed. I would like to assert that a credible National Voters’ Register is a cornerstone for conducting successful elections. It is therefore imperative that we continue to explore ways for immediate and innovative solutions to the above challenges,” he said.
What the Verification Exercise Entails
The cleaning of the National Voters’ Registers at village level (or verification of the National Voters’ Register) will entail convening Village Council meetings to be presided over by the Village Chairperson.
A Village Council meeting is a gathering of residents mobilized by the Local Council (LCI) under the leadership of the Village Chairperson for purposes of addressing a particular village issue. Verification of the National Voters’ Register exercise for a particular village is an issue which the meeting should address.
The Parish Supervisor shall serve as the verification official during the village council meeting. The Electoral Commission expects that the meeting will give priority to the verification item on its agenda.
The particulars of voters in a given village shall be extracted from the National Voters’ Register and availed to the meeting, by the parish supervisor who is also the Verification Official.
The verification official shall guide the meeting through a roll call session to ascertain particulars of those voters which should be removed from the National Voters’ Register (NVR).
The reasons for the removal are those that would ordinarily be spelt out in the display guidelines. These include the dead, those voters who have left the area and non citizens.
“The information gathered during the meeting shall be compiled and submitted for onward processing through the Commissions’ established channels,” Byabakama said.
He added: “The mobilization of village residents to turn up to participate in the village level verification of the National Voters’ Register will be carried out for a period of three (3) days from Friday, October 18, 2019 to Sunday, October 20, 2019.”
Village Council meetings to verify the national voters register will be held in each village per parish on separate days for a period of eight (8) days from Monday October 21, 2019 to Monday, October 28, 2019.
“The Update of the National Voters Register and compilation of Registers for Special Interest Groups will commence on Monday the 21st November, 2019 and end on Wednesday, 11th December, 2019,” Byabakama said.
These activities will be conducted by the district staff comprised of the District Registrars, Assistant District Registrars, Sub county Supervisors and Parish Supervisors. The Regional Elections Officers and Headquarter staff will monitor and provide support supervision to the exercise. The EC staff shall work hand in hand with NIRA Officials in this exercise.