The Minister of Internal Affairs, Maj Gen Kahinda Otafiire, has dismissed claims that government has resolved to scrap the current National ID card.
Gen Otafiire told journalists in Kampala on Tuesday, 09 August 2022 that Cabinet did not pass any resolution to scrap the current National ID and urged Ugandans to ignore the tweet making such claims.
On Monday and Tuesday, there were claims on social media that Cabinet has resolved to scrap the national ID. Even, the opposition Forum for Democratic Change claimed that Cabinet has approved the scrapping of National IDs and that Ugandans are to apply for new ones.
But Gen Otafiire said the cabinet meeting he attended on Monday didn’t discuss it.
Earlier, the National Identification and Registration Authority (NIRA), an authority tasked with distributing the IDs, also dismissed the claims.
“We would like to clarify that, there has not been any pronouncement to “scrap off all current National IDs,” they said in a tweet.
The National Identity Cards are a prerequisite for opening Bank accounts, registration of sim cards, obtaining travel documents, voting, and registration for the National Social Security Fund -NSSF for those seeking formal employment.
To secure an ID, Ugandan law require that one produces a medical birth certificate, a citizen card showing that they are Ugandans by birth, information about their biological parents and family clans and their original residential location – a process that is so tedious that many avoid it.
But in May 2022, Gen David Muhoozi, the State minister for Internal Affairs, told parliamentary plenary that the government will issue “smart digital” IDs going forward once the current versions expire.
“Expected outcomes of the exercise shall include…substitution of the (expiring) National ID cards upon expiry, and [their] upgrading … to a smart card [Electronic ID or EID] and creation of personal digital identity, upgrade of the verification system and integration of the Iris recognition biometric technology and DNA in the NIRA system,” the minister said.
The government through the National Identification and Registration Authority (NIRA) began issuing National IDs in 2014, and the first batch expires in 2024.