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Money Lenders Withholding National IDs Affects NRM Membership Update

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Hundreds of Ugandans are not in position to present their National Identification cards, something which has greatly affected the National Resistance Movement (NRM) membership update exercise which is going on countrywide.

In Nakaseke district, the members who had turned up in numbers to verify their membership in the party were frustrated as the village registrars told them that presenting a valid national ID is one of the prerequisites of the exercise.

The affected members however urged that money lenders are holding onto their national IDs due to the loans they are servicing with them.

Last year, the National Identification and Registration Authority issued a warning prohibiting the use of national IDs as security for obtaining loans insisting that they remain government property.

Kabuye Kyofatogabye, the State Minister for Kampala Metropolitan Affairs made impromptu visits to Kiwoko town and Kikamulo sub-county in Nakaseke to assess the progress of the NRM update exercise and was told the exercise has been hampered by the absence of National IDs by applicants which is a requirement. National IDs are proof of citizenship and village registrars require NINs for each member registration.

During the visit, village registrars and NRM chairpersons asked Minister Kyofatogabye to follow up on the matter to compel money lenders to surrender the IDs to residents.

Kyofatogabye said that it’s illegal for money lenders to retain National IDs as collateral security and promised to present the matter to the cabinet to find a swift solution.

The Minister however asked village registrars to register the supporters even those without National IDs but reminded them to recover them.

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The exercise which is being conducted at the village level began on Wednesday 13 and it is expected to end on Sunday 17, March 2024.

The party seeks to register new supporters from the age of 16 and above as well as updating the particulars of those already in the register.

However, in Nakaseke district, Muhamood Bukenya Yiga, the NRM Administrative Secretary said that although the exercise has been ongoing smoothly, several residents who had turned up for registration and update failed to present their National IDs.

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Bukenya says that several residents informed the village registrars that their National IDs are currently being held by money lenders as collateral security after extending loans to them. He adds that they have directed the village registrars to register them and later they look for their NINs.

Simon Mwebe, a resident of Kiwoko town says that he was forced to surrender his National ID to a money lender to get money to pay fees for his children. Mwebe said that he lacks collateral security to apply for loans in banks since he owns no land or property.

Muhamadi Gubya, the NRM chairperson for Nakaseke district condemned the money lenders for impounding people’s National IDs and asked the government to take action against them because the same may hinder registration for general elections as well as other programmes.

The same challenge has been reported in Luwero where several residents missed out on the NRM registration after failing to present the national IDs, hence affecting the exercise.

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*Source – URN*

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