NIRA suspends ID registration at Mutukula border over alien influx, extortion

Some of the residents registering for the national IDs

Some of the residents registering for the national IDs

The National Identification and Registration Authority (NIRA) has suspended the national ID registration process in Mutukula, Kyotera district over numerous flaws. 

The registration exercise at Mutukula and Kakuuto sub-county, near the Uganda-Tanzania border was reportedly marred with gross irregularities, massive extortion by officials and registration of aliens.  

Tony Kasule, the Kyotera and Rakai districts registrations officer explains that the decision was taken after a meeting with the district security team in which it was reported that the process had been compromised. Kyotera resident district commissioner Maj David Matovu says that the registration process had been messed up by wrong elements that were bribing their way through the system to illegally obtain national identity cards.    

Matovu has indicated that the security teams have now undertaken investigations into the reported flaws, to have the gaps fixed. At the moment, all unregistered residents in these sub-counties can only seek the service from the district headquarters in Kasaali; located about 45 kilometres from Mutukula town council.  

“We want to ensure a clean registration process, but the reports we were getting arose a lot of suspicions even against some of the NIRA staff,” he said.    

Stephen Ssebunya, the Kakuuto sub-county chairperson also interim head for Mutukula town council, says they are reaching out to the village council leadership to find joint solutions to the irregularities. He has partly blamed the irregularities on the sub county Internal Security Officer (GISO) and NIRA field staff that he says have not been vigilant to prevent flaws in the exercise.      

Ssebunya explained that the suspension of the process in the area has already become a burden to the residents who incur high transport costs to the district headquarters to be registered. He said anyone seeking to register for the national ID will need at least Shs 25,000 to and fro Kasaali district headquarters.  

Magdalene Nassolo, the chairperson of Lwazi ‘A’ Cell in Mutukula town, is also afraid that the withdrawal of the registration kits from the area will deny many residents the opportunity of registering for the identification cards.  

Nassolo has, on the other hand, asked security to investigate officers who were using the process to extort money from applicants that seek recommendations for registration. Nassolo said the GISO of Kakuuto has been demanding for Shs 30,000 per applicant. 

© 2016 Observer Media Ltd