No reopening the Voters Register – Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs
“Considering the enormous and complex operational requirements for the conduct of the 202012021 General Elections with Polling Days falling between 10th January 2021 and 8th February 2021, the Commission is therefore not able to reopen Update of the Voter Register as had been requested by some stakeholders.” This was a the statement by the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Hon. Ephraim Kamuntu while presenting Governments position to Parliament, on the reopening and updating of the National voters register to allow Uganda Citizens who will be turning 18 years of age to register as voters for the forthcoming general elections.
The Minister told the August House that according to the elections Roadmap already published by the Electoral Commission, nominations for the special interest groups (SIGs) which include the youth, persons with disabilities (PWDs) and older persons are set to commence on the 6th of April 2020 for village level and to progress up to national level, ending with the elections for the National Youth Committee on 16th July 2020. This shall be followed by nominations for Local Government Councils from 20th – 28th July 2020.
Majority of the Mps were, however, opposed to the position held by the Government demanding that Government reopens the voters register. Hon. Wilfred Niwagaba saying: “The cut-off point day is applied under Section 18A of the Electoral Commission Act. This implies that there must be a voter’s register after nominations. That cut-off point should be reasonable enough not to refranchise a section of voters.” Other Mps demanded that since the National identification and Registration Authority ( NIRA) already had data of all those Ugandans who are soon turning 18 years , this would be easier for the Commission to integrate the information in the system.
Hon. Kamuntu in his final remarks told the House that the Government was not intending to disenfranchise any Ugandan and that providing a deadline for updating of the voters’ register was in accordance with the Constitution and electoral laws.
The Speaker in her ruling asked the Clark to Parliament to write to NIRA and UBOS to appear before Parliament and provide guidance to the matter.