We’re Only Registering 18 & Above. Ec. Cso Call For Technological Use

By. Damba Rogers

 Electoral Commission has clarified that it’s registering only persons who have attained the age of 18 years in the ongoing verification and registration of voters ahead of 2021 general election.

This follows calls from the public to the electoral Body to register persons who shall be 18years and above by next years since they will be eligible to cast their votes.

However, the chairman of the Commission Simon Mugenyi Byabakama maintains that the law mandates the commission to register only persons who have attained the age of 18 years at the time of registration but not even those who are nearing the eligible age.

He has also added the commission shall not extend the date of voter verification if the deadline of 11th December 2018 elapses.

However, Civil Society leaders advise the Electoral commission to adopt a phased approach in updating the national voters register by leveraging available technology that can easily facilitate continues registration of voters.

Their advice comes at a time when the opposition has opposed a limit of 21 days which is expiring on the 11th December within which all new voters can be registered and the national voters registered updated.

Civil society leaders attending a retreat at the Garuga country resort in Entebbe say that this period is too short and that there is a potential to lock out over 1.3 million people who will have turned 18 years from the cutoff date to the end of next year.

They say that just like the commission did ahead of the 2021 general elections; it can stop the update and registration of voters 5 months to polling day and use available technology to update the national voters register.

The former coordinator at the Citizens, Coalition for Electoral Democracy in Uganda Crispy Kaheru says that the commission can also adopt a phased manner to address concerns linked to registers of special interest groups.

The civil society leaders have also urged parliament to ensure that meaningful electoral reforms are put in place shortly after the festive season because they are very essential in ensuring free and fair elections. Sarah Birete is the associate director at the centre for constitutional governance.


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