A Ugandan Mayor Has 2 National ID Cards. That Doesn't Bode Well for Elections

2 National Identity cards of Kampala Mayor Erias Lukwago with same biometric data ith the same biometric data but different serial numbers and expiration dates. Image shared of his Facebook page.

Two national identity cards of Kampala Mayor Erias Lukwago with the same biometric data but different serial numbers and expiration dates. Image shared of his Facebook page.

Last year, the government of Uganda started the process of registering all Ugandans and issuing them with identity cards as part of the National Security Information System. On April 20, 2015 the Electoral Commission announced that the same cards will be used for the general elections in 2016.

Opposition politicians are against the decision, arguing that during the registration non-Ugandans were registered. There are also suspicions over the strong presence of soldiers in the leadership of the National Security Information System, which some fear means the military could tamper with future elections.

One of the opponents of the National ID project is the Lord Mayor of Kampala city Erias Lukwago. Using his Facebook page, he pointed out the weakness of the system by posting two ID cards he managed to obtain with the same biometric data, but with different serial numbers. He wants the Minister of Internal Affairs General Nyakairima and the Electoral Commission to give him reasons for issuing him with two cards:

It's a unique country with unique systems, otherwise I doubt that the soon-to-be baptised ”Independent Electoral Commission” and/ or the yet-to-be retired UPDF General Nyakairima [Minister for Internal Affairs] would give any valid reason(s) as to why I was issued with TWO National Identity Cards, with the same biometric data but different serial numbers, different expiry dates etc. I also wonder whether my ”votability”(I guess they meant Eligibility) has also doubled?

His post elicited mixed reactions from Ugandans on Facebook.

If a mayor can get two ID cards, said Brian Nandala, he, an ordinary person, should be able to get more too:

haha so Lord Mayor has two ids guess I should get 7

Didas Kisembo was seeing ghosts:

Hehehe… @Erias Lukwago This is how ghost voters make it into the register

Emmy Otim implored the Election Commission to clarify the issue:

This is bad for the credibility of the 2016 election register and the Electoral Commission. An opposition leader issued with two National IDs with Same names and date of birth but different serial numbers and expiry dates. How many more Ugandans have gotten more than on nation ID but are quiet. EC [Electoral Commission] must clarify this ASAP…

Denis Indani joked:

Didn't know The Lord Mayor had his twin bro. sharing the same names as his!!!!!!!!

However, not all who reacted to his post are on his side. Agaba Jebedian Jonan, for example, said the mayor is involved in fraud:

in fact Lukwago should give answer why he's having two identify cards, that means he's involved in fraud

Mugisha Andrew explained how the mayor got two cards, saying that one of them is invalid:

the first card he registered for in 2011 as a VIP duirng the pilot project, you can tell from the serial number…these cards were then declared null n void, the second card is the valid one, even lukwago himself knows that the second card is invali, his just trying to find ground for disrupting the upcoming polls with false claims….if u received your national id compare your serial number with the two ids and tell which is valid and which is not…

Patrick Senyonga asked why the two cards have two different photos suggesting that he registered twice:

And why does he have two different passport photos on the two cards…did he register twice

Cosmas Kabona is not convinced by the mayor's story. He argued that the mayor committed a crime:

I am not convinced.The process of picking that card is lengthy involving a signature and a thumb print in the system.How did the lord mayor know that there were two cards for him in the box so that he presented himself twice?Presenting yourself twice to demand for a card already issued to you tantamount to a crime

The Electoral Commission is currently re-branding, which involves changing its name to “The Independent Electoral Commission of Uganda” in a move to create trust in the election body. It is common after every election in Uganda for the opposition to partly blame the commission for their loss.

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