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Disagreement on Biometric System Led to Dismissal of EC Staff – Museveni

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In his letter, Museveni said that the only way to stop vote rigging without depending on the vigilance of the people is through the digital verification of the voters using their biometric-data so that a voter registers only once and if he or she tries to register a second time, the central memory of the system detects and blocks the vote.
07 Sep 2020 12:57
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President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has disclosed the reason why he ordered for the firing of long time Secretary to the Electoral Commission Sam Rwakoojo and three other officials.

In a six-page document posted on his official handle @KagutaMuseveni explaining the rigging that was witnessed in the just concluded NRM parliamentary primaries, Museveni said that the four officials were fired because of corruption.

In his letter, Museveni said that the only way to stop vote rigging without depending on the vigilance of the people is through the digital verification of the voters using their biometric-data so that a voter registers only once and if he or she tries to register a second time, the central memory of the system detects and blocks the vote.

However, according to him, his efforts were suppressed by those who were running the Electoral Commission. “The corrupt team that was in the Electoral Commission refused to procure this system. It is, however, being procured now. This will end this sad story of the anti-democratic forces at least as far as the problem of multiple voting and multiple registrations are concerned.

It will also deal with the problem of ballot stuffing because the fingerprints digitally read must be equal to the votes in the ballot box,” Museveni said.

In July, the country was stunned to hear that President Museveni had ordered for the firing of not only Sam Rwakoojo but also, three other officials who included Jotham Taremwa, the director public relations department, Pontius Namugera, the director of technical services and Godfrey Wanyoto, the principal procurement officer at a time when the country was preparing for the 2021 elections.

Speaking to media then, the Electoral Commission Chairman Justice Simon Byabakama said the four officials had asked for early retirement citing personal reasons. He denied any suggestions that their ‘early retirement’ was in any way linked to dubious procurements or any corruption cases.

However, those in the know say that Museveni had ordered the Electoral Commission to give, not only a contract of printing all ballot material for the 2021 elections to Veridos Identity Solutions GmbH but also the management of the biometric system of the voter register. A source with knowledge about the saga says that the Electoral Commission bosses were not comfortable with awarding the same company all the responsibilities relating to the Elections.

“What would be left for us to manage if one company is printing the ballot materials and managing the voter register?” a source told us. He added that the Electoral Commission fears were even made worse because of the ownership of Veridos Identity Solutions GmbH.

“This company was brought in Uganda by Hilmer Froelich, the husband of Museveni’s sister Violet Kajubiri. So imagine that a situation where somebody so close to the president who is also a candidate is managing the election,” the source said.

When contacted for a comment, Jotham Taremwa said they had agreed in principle not to comment on the subject. “Sorry my friend but I can’t say anything about that matter,” Taremwa told URN.     

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