Address by H.E.

Yoweri Kaguta Museveni President of the Republic of Uganda On “Mass Enrolment Exercise for digitized identity cards” to the Nation at State House - Nakasero 13th February 2014


Country men and country women, I greet you. On this occasion, I am here to address you on the question of the importance of each one of us having a digitized identity card, meaning a computerized and computer read, identity card. This is very different from the usual identity cards issued by a multiplicity of authorities ─ schools, employers, government departments or even those issued by the department of immigration. reasons: 1. A digitized identity card is impossible to forge. Why? This is because a person’s picture, names, biometric details (how tall, etc) and fingerprints are stored in the computer’s central memory. If one, for instance, puts a picture of a person on top of another person’s identity card, the computer would reject that card.

The digitized identity

cards are superior and un-comparable for the following


All identity cards and the details of the individuals are centrally stored in the central computers while with the usual cards we have been using hitherto, there was no such central memory or records.

3. 4.

These cards are properly sealed against water, rain, etc. Later on, these cards can be life savers as they can be made to contain the individuals’ blood groups or that data can be put in the central computers so that, in case of accident, the doctors would be assisted to know what type of blood they need to give the patient without much ado.

Therefore, a digitized identity card is very reliable while the other types are not reliable. It is from that reliability of the identity card which is digitized that we get the following benefits: (i) Saving lives because of, the record of an individual’s blood group in the central computer so that even if he gets an accident and is not able to talk, those who rescue him or her will only need to put their hand in

the pocket of the injured person, retrieve the identity card and they will get all the records that will, among other things, assist in the treatment of the patient. The doctor can scan the card through the computer and he will get the records. (ii) Fraud, impersonation, misrepresentation, etc. will be impossible because the computer can check in the central memory and find out whether those individuals are the people they say they are or not. Therefore, the idea of ghost teachers, soldiers and other civil servants will be impossible because anybody to be paid salary will have to be a truthful employee of that department unless, of course, the distortion was done at the beginning of the employee registration. Still, this is easy to locate with a physical head count.

(iii) Some people have been serial bank loan defaulters. Somebody gets a loan from Bank “A” and does not pay. He/she goes to Bank “B”, gets a loan and does not pay, etc. etc. Yet Bank “B” does not know that that individual got a loan from Bank “A” which he/she did not pay. With these computerized identity cards, all Banks will know everybody who defaulted on his/her debt in any Bank. It will be impossible to conceal the information. (iv) I have already told you about the idea of people’s blood group being entered into the computer. Later on,

people’s DNA can also be entered into the computer so that if a criminal attacks somebody or rapes a woman, any part of the criminal’s blood or hair or semen that remains on the scene, will tell us, once analyzed in a competent laboratory, who the criminal is. (v) Knowing who is a citizen of Uganda will be easy.

(vi) Above all, cheating in elections will be impossible. It will be impossible for anybody to engage in multiple registration ─ to register more than once ─ or for somebody that is under age to register as a voter. The computer will detect and reject such a person. This will end complaints, both in the General elections and in the Party primaries. This is very important because it will end the wastage that comes with elections ─ petitions, disgruntlement, etc. In the 1962 and 1980 elections, there had been deliberate efforts to have faulty elections by the law providing for: multiple ballot boxes; multiple ballot papers; enclosed polling booths; not counting immediately after polling; and, instead, transporting all the boxes to the district headquarters; many miles away from the polling station; no Party agents at the polling station; adhoc constituencies without fixed boundaries for every elections; etc, etc. As soon as the NRM came into power, all these problems were addressed except the problem of a totally faulty free electoral register. That problem is now being addressed by having a computerized electoral register.

We had wanted to do this long ago. The problem, however, was the cost given that to carry out this exercise and given the many priorities we had and given our low revenue base, we did not have the money to undertake it. However, in 2009, given the importance of the matter, we decided to move on this subject. By 2010, the effort had started. The effort, however, could not be concluded because, at that time, various departments and ministries were working separately. These were: Immigration, Citizenship, Electoral National Commission, Directorate of Information Technology Authority

Uganda (NITA-U), Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSBC), Internal Security Organization (ISO), External Security Organization (ESO), Uganda Police, Uganda Prisons, Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS), Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Local Government. All these were not working together. This time, they are working together and I want to thank General Aronda Nyakairima, the Minister of Internal Affairs, for coordinating them.

Therefore, the exercise is going to start tomorrow, Monday, 14th April, 2014. The exercise will be conducted at the Parish. The registrars at the Parish will be the enroller who will handle the registration kit and an assistant enroller, citizenship verifiers who are the Parish Internal Security Officer (PISO), the LC I Chairman and LC II Chairman in some bigger parishes (Local Council officials) and a village elder. Each Parish team will be equipped with a laptop with a software which comprises of (a) a special camera which takes pictures or photographs and puts them in a format that is of international standard; (b) a fingerprint scanner which scans four (4) fingers at ago for quick and accurate identification of individuals; (c) a signature pad for capturing each individual’s signature/handwriting;








identification documents like birth certificates, passports, voters card, etc. The registrars/enrollers will do the following: (a) (b) (c) issue enrollment forms; give guidance on how to fill enrollment guide forms which are part of the enrollment process; and capture the citizens’ data on the laptop.

In the process of registration, the issue of citizenship will come up. Ugandans are citizens of this country by birth, registration and naturalization. Article 10 of the Constitution of Uganda states as follows: “The following persons shall be citizens of Uganda by birth ─ (a) every person born in Uganda one of whose parents or grandparents is or was a member of any of the indigenous communities existing and residing within the borders of Uganda as at the first day of February, 1926, and set out in the Third Schedule to this Constitution; and


every person born in or outside Uganda one of whose parents or grandparents was at the time of birth of that person a citizen of Uganda by birth”.

Article 12 talks of citizenship by registration and it provides that: (i) “Every person born in Uganda (a) at the time of whose birth ─ (i) neither of his or her parents and none of his or her grandparents had diplomatic status in Uganda; and (ii) (b) neither of his or her parents and none of his or her grandparents was a refugee in Uganda; and who has lived continuously in Uganda since the ninth day of October, 1962, shall, on application , be entitled to be registered as a citizen of Uganda. This simply means that anybody who was in Uganda by the day of Independence in 1962, but whose parents were neither refugees nor diplomats will, without any obstacle, be given citizenship if he or she applies. Therefore, the only trouble he or she will take will be to apply.

Clause (2 a, b and c) of Article 12 also says that the following persons will be given citizenship if they apply: (a) (b) (c) every person married to a Ugandan or was once married to a Ugandan; every person who has legally and voluntarily migrated to and has been living in Uganda for, at least, 10 years; and anybody who had lived in Uganda by 1995, when the new Constitution was promulgated, for 20 years.

On this issue of naturalization, the Constitution says that Parliament will make laws governing that category. The Uganda Citizenship and Immigration Control Act was enacted and provides for citizenship by naturalization. Under Section 16, the National Citizenship and Immigration Board may grant any alien (any person who is not a citizen of Uganda) citizenship by naturalization and the Board shall issue a person granted citizenship a Certificate of Naturalization. An alien to whom a certificate of naturalization is issued, shall become a citizen of Uganda by naturalization from the date of issue of the certificate of naturalization. All that a person who wishes to be granted citizenship by naturalization needs to do is to

apply to the board. If he fulfills the qualifications under the law, then he or she is granted a certificate. The qualifications are that he or she has resided in Uganda for an aggregate period of 20 years, has resided in Uganda throughout the period of 24 months immediately preceding the date of application, has adequate knowledge of a prescribed vernacular language or the English language, is of a good character and intends, if naturalized, to continue to reside permanently in Uganda. Going back to the issue of citizenship by birth, Article 10, refers to the indigenous communities existing and residing within the boundaries of Uganda by 1926. These are listed in the Third schedule of the Constitution. They are: Acholi, Aliba, Alur, Aringa, Baamba, Babukusu, Babwisi, Bafumbira, Baganda, Bagisu, Bagungu, Bagwe, Bagwere, Bahehe, Bahororo, Bakenyi, Bakiga, Bakonzo, Banyabindi, Banyabutumbi, Banyarwanda, Basamia, Banyankore, Banyole, Banyara, Banyaruguru, Barundi, Batoro,






Batuku, Batwa, Chope, Dodoth, Ethur, Gimara, Ik (Teuso), Iteso, Jie, Jonam, Jopadhola, Kakwa, Karimojong, Kebu (Okebu), Kuku, Kumam, Langi, Lendu, Lugbara, Madi, Mening, Mvuba, Napore, Ngikutio, Nubi, Nyangia, Pokot, Reli, Sabiny, Shana, So (Tepeth), Vonoma. It is, therefore, clear to me that most of the people who currently live in Uganda, estimated to be 37 million in number, are either citizens by birth or are entitled to be so if they only bother to apply. Therefore, those involved in the registration process should approach this issue with a positive attitude to help the people who wish to apply for citizenship rather than hindering them. should be guided by the officials. If there is any need for some technicalities of registration, the peasants This computerized registration will, finally, close this debate. In any case, our indigenous concept of citizenship was not ethnicity but service to the respective Kingdoms. There are two words in Runyankore: Okwimuura and okwehonga that

governed the issue of citizenship.

Okwimuura meant a

phenomenon of a citizen withdrawing allegiance from a king or a chief because of being unhappy with the way he or she was being governed. In Ankole, he would walk to the king and say to his face the following words: “Your Highness (Nyakusiinga) I have withdrawn my allegiance from you ─ nakwimuura”. The King had no right to punish him. The only thing he could do was to entice him back by solving his grievances. Having withdrawn allegiance from the previous king or chief, he or she would now go and pledge allegiance to the new king or chief. This was okwehongyera (to pledge allegiance to the new king). Obviously, the people from the neighbouring countries who want to be citizens of Uganda, apart from coming from sister communities (tribes), prefer to live in Uganda. Is it correct for Uganda to expend so much energy rejecting these people? African integration. advantage. After all we are talking of East A big population is an

As our economy develops, we shall

find this population useful.

It is because peasants are still fighting over

land on account of low level of industrialization that we still experience some tensions in some areas. This is a temporary problem. Our people are also going to South Sudan, Congo, Rwanda, etc. to look for opportunities. Why do they go there? Is it bad or good that they do so? I, however, would also like to caution the immigrants. They should not make false statements to government officials claiming to have stayed in Uganda for 10 years or more when they have, in fact, stayed for less. They should not be allowed to invade forest reserves or grab land illegally. They should say the truth and follow the law in everything. residents. If they do not qualify as citizens, then, they Anybody who breaks the law should be held can be issued with permits to allow them stay as long term accountable. I thank all of you. Yoweri K. Museveni PRESIDENT


Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful

Master Your Semester with Scribd & The New York Times

Special offer for students: Only $4.99/month.

Master Your Semester with a Special Offer from Scribd & The New York Times

Cancel anytime.