The Electoral Commission (EC) conducts a media briefing on the upcoming exercise of Verification of the National Voters’ Register at the Village level, scheduled to take place between 21-28 October 2019 in all villages in Uganda. Below is the full press statement;
“Dear esteemed members of the press, it is my privilege and pleasure to welcome you to this press briefing.
The Commission today briefed the public on a national electoral activity, namely, the Verification of the National Voters’ Register and the Identification of Persons with Disability (PWDs) at the Village Level, as follows:
B. Village Verification of the National Voters’ Register (NVR)
The Commission will conduct verification of the National Voters’ Register (NVR) at village level. 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.
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.
The following factors were considered;
i) 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. Owing to various constraints, NIRA has not been able to register births and deaths across the country. Consequently, the National voters’ Register is growing with ineligible voters.
ii) 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.
iii) 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.
C. 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.
D. Programme for Village Verification, Update of the National Voters Register and Compilation of Registers for Special Interest Groups
i) The briefing of Sub-county Supervisors on verification of the National Voters Register (NVR) was conducted on Wednesday, October 16, 2019 at the districts;
ii) The briefing of Parish Supervisors and Village Chairpersons on verification of the National Voters Register (NVR) will be conducted today, Thursday, October 17, 2019 at sub-county level.
iii) 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.
iiii) 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.
v) 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.
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.
The Electoral Commission appeals to all stakeholders in the electoral process to participate in this important exercise and in accordance with the issued guidelines.
Justice Byabakama Mugenyi Simon
Chairperson, Electoral Commission