Justice Simon Mugenyi Byabakama, the Electoral Commission (EC) chairperson has asked Ugandans to file cases against Local Defence Unit (LDU) officers who break their National Identity Cards.
He made the remarks during the commemoration of the International Day of Democracy at Kololo Ceremonial Grounds on Friday.
Byabakama said although national IDs may not be necessary for the coming general elections, LDU officers must respect government’s property since it identifies one as a Ugandan.
“The act of destroying peoples’ National Identity Cards is a criminal offence and those errant officers must be prosecuted. An ID is a property of the beholder and it’s purchased using taxpayers’money. This is one’s constitutional right and it’s a compulsory requirement that every Ugandan citizen must have. If security officers break them, it is against the law and they must be arrested and prosecuted,” said Byabakama.
He, however, told citizens whose IDs were allegedly broken not to lose hope that they may not participate in the general elections since EC is going to consider only those voters whose names are on the national voters’ register.
“If your national ID was broken go and report that officer, however, breaking your ID does not mean that you will not take part in the coming election just make sure your name is with us in our national voters’ register, nevertheless those who are now registering for new IDs make sure that on that form given to you, you fill the place where you will vote from because if you don’t you will miss on our register,” He explained.
Byabakama’s plea follows several complaints from citizens about the inhumane habits exhibited by LDUs who have made it a tendency to confiscate or break their IDs at night in case people fail to give them money.
Although the chief Political Commissar of Uganda Police Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIGP) Asan Kasingye recently warned the security operatives during the 10th-anniversary celebration of the Citizens’ Coalition for Electoral Democracy in Uganda (CCEDU), according to reports from areas where LDUs have been deployed, the culprits still carry out the acts.
“They also presented to me those broken national Identification Cards. I saw them with my own eyes and I am told it happens at night, however people should know that it is not the mandate of the LDUs to check the validity and originality of the national IDs some use this as an excuse to extort money from Ugandans but we warn them and ask the public to present to us name of such LDUs,” said Kasingye.