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EC seeks UGX 100b for biometric voter verification machines

FILE PHOTO: Justice Simon Byabakama Mugenyi

Kampala, Uganda  | THE INDEPENDENT | Justice Simon Byabakama Mugenyi, the chairperson of the Electoral Commission has said that the commission requires 100 billion shillings to procure bio-metric system machines for the 2021 presidential and parliamentary elections.

The 2021 general elections will be the second time Uganda uses the Biometric Voter Verification System (BVVS).

The BVVS is a technological system that identifies the voter by the particulars contained in the national voter register through the use of fingerprints to prevent non-voters from casting the ballot.

In 2016, Uganda introduced the BVVS with the view of improving the integrity of the electoral process through authentication of voter identity.

Justice Byabakama says the bio-metric system will enable the elections body to quicken the voting process.

Whereas fingerprint scanners were deployed to 28,010 polling stations in 2016, the EC boss Justice Byabakama says the 2021 polls will have almost 35,000 polling stations.

He argues that the creation more administrative units have tremendously expanded the polling stations across the country, which must also be considered.

In 2018, EC requested for 900 billion shillings for the 2021 elections, but government initially allocated 223 billion shillings for the implementation of the Electoral roadmap for the general elections.

In 2019, the EC budget was slashed and the electoral body adjusted to 700 billion shillings as a tentative budget. Uganda spent Shillings 419.9 billion budget for the 2016 general elections. EC estimates the number of voters to increase from 15 million to 19 million voters in 2021.

The Electoral Commission is currently compiling a new voter register for the 2021 general elections. Part of the on-going process is extraction data on voting-age citizens from the Ministry of Internal Affairs under the National Identification Register (NIR), from the National Identification and Registration Authority (NIRA).

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