By Lydiah Namayengo
On Friday 12th April 2018, we held a community citizens engagement platform with the people of Kasawo Sub county in Mukono district that was aimed at raising awareness about the ongoing and up coming electoral milestones towards 2021 general election with more emphasis on National ID Registration.
These included groups from the Sub county chief, councilors, youth leaders, local councils, women councils, parish chiefs, cultural leaders like from Buganda kingdom, opinion leaders, elders, religious leaders, and people from the informal sector like the boda boda riders, saloon workers, welders etc.
These comprised key stakeholders from Kasana, kiyovu, kabimbiri A & B, kabembe, kakira, kigagga zone, kalyowa, kasenge, kasawo, kigayaavu, seeta Namuganga, Buteyonge, and Butaba etc.
As an advocate for the Sustainable development goals especially Goal No 16 Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions; I trained these local leaders especially LC 1, 2 & 3 and women councils about their roles and responsibilities as leaders where I said that their legal mandate comes from the 1997 Local government Act and 1995 Constitution, later backed up by the ACDEG.
I cautioned them to not only serve their political party members but to serve all people irrespective of whether they supported them or not.
I argued them to lobby on behalf of their people the top leadership for more service delivery as well as spearhead the demand for accountability; act as a link between government and the people; and use the local councils to act as conflict ressolution councils.
I told them about the importance of having a National ID that includes securing your votability since nobody will be allowed to participate in the 2021 elections not only as voters but also as candidates without having a #NationalID.
We encouraged them to get their national IDs if not yet got, replace the lost ones and also mobilise all the citizens in their villages to go out and register.
We later discussed the key electoral milestones in the road map to the 2021 general election as well as mobilised the leaders to be key resources in encouraging the citizens to engage in these processes.
The citizens however, wondered, how can government request people of 50 years and above like us to bring a photocopy of the IDs of our parents yet they died a long time ago?
Who do they consult when demarcating the constituencies or polling stations? How can people vote from a polling station for three elections, and on the fourth, u come and u were changed! Citizens and local leaders must participate in the demarcation.
Citizens however inquired when the IDs of students that registered at school will be released, cautioned the area MP to prioritise service delivery like the Kasawo Health centre that has cases of land grabbing. They later cautioned government to reduce on the requirements or pass a regulation for the birth certificate to be free due to the high poverty levels.
They also reported issues of monetization of the National ID acquisition process especially the local leaders that give out recommendations to the people like the District Internal security officer and GISO who collect money from the citizens. This must stop because the National IDs are free.
They later cautioned government to facilitate the local councils with allowances and facilities to do their work such that they can perform their duties. How do u elect leaders and use them yet u can not pay them?
We call upon the Electoral Commission and government to ensure citizen’s inclusiveness in the planning and implementation of the electoral milestones as well as the entire electoral process.
We call upon our political leaders to always demand early and quick intervention in citizen’s issues, needs and demands because it is their constitutional mandate to get these services.
We urge government to adjust some of the requirements for registration and provide options that can be available for our people especially with elders aged 50 years that lost their parents.
I call upon the people of Mukono, women, youth, and all Ugandans to go out and register for the National ID to be able to have your votability such that we qualify to vote and uproot the military Junta and his government that has kept us in poverty, our people in unemployment, discrimination, poor service delivery etc because the earlier we demand for our rights especially the right to vote the better we can liberate our country.