The Minister of Internal Affairs Jeje Odongo has expressed concern
over the surging crowds seeking services at the National Identification and
Registration Authority (NIRA) offices in Kololo.
General Odongo said this while presiding over the inauguration of the new NIRA
governing board that took their Oath on Thursday. He said there are many
challenges facing the Authority that has put the whole institution into
According to Gen. Odon, there is a continuous outcry from the citizens about
the services offered by the Authority and urged the new Board to immediately
find solutions to the challenges it is currently facing.
“I encourage you to apply your mind to improvement of the services
as quickly as possible,” he said.
General Odongo says the crowds at NIRA offices are symptomatic of the inefficiencies
at the authority which require the Board’s immediate intervention.
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URN has established that most of the challenges affecting the
authority include inadequate equipment, poor coordination between NIRA staff
and the District Coordination Committee members.
Other challenges are limited facilitation, limited office accommodation,
unbalanced and unfavourable payment structures, inadequate understanding of
NIRA activities and services by the local communities, and a considerable
disparity between the approved budget and the overall performance of the
“One of the challenges that NIRA as an institution faces is that whereas it has
an approved structure, as we speak now, that structure is not yet fully
populated. It is a responsibility of the new Board to ensure that that
structure is fully populated so that we may be able to carry out the functions
as we are expected,” says General Jeje Odongo.
NIRA has an established staff structure of five staff in every district office.
However, the 2019 Report of the Parliamentary Sectoral Committee on Defence and
Internal Affairs on the Petition and oversight visits on operations of NIRA
show that some districts have got only two or one staff manning the entire
This according to the parliamentary report has strained on the posted officers
leading to failure to achieve the set targets.
“The workload has caused a strain on the existing staff who have to work extra
hours to meet the needs of the public. The committee was informed that some
officers serve two districts; a case in point was the Gulu Office that serves
both Gulu and Omoro districts,” reads the report in part.
Parliament last year observed that NIRA head office faces serious problem of
understaffing and in most cases staffs were performing more than one job,
hence, affecting the efficient and effective service delivery.
NIRA currently has only 123 out of growing number of Districts approved service
points across the country and 5 for the 5 Kampala Divisions. URN has
established that these service points are constant regardless of the increase
in the number of Districts.
Odongo also urged the new NIRA Board to establish mechanisms for which NIRA can
back all the its information to mitigate any eventuality of data loss.
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Judy Obitre-Gama, the NIRA ED says the Authority currently has staffing levels
of up to 50% and hopes to fill in the balance next year upon approval of the
wage bill by government.
With a population 40million Ugandans, NIRA says they have only been able to
register close to 29 million people. But Odongo says even with the registered
population, there a sizeable number of those are non-citizens.
Government proposes to introduce citizen verification committees for processing
a National ID to prevent non-Ugandans from accessing the cards.
“As of now, it is the letter of the LC1, a recommendation from the DISO, to
determine that one is a citizen,” says Odongo.
The Board has also been tasked to devise means of standardizing LC1 letters
introducing citizens for National Identity Cards.
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James Biribonwa, former commissioner of the Electoral Commission, is the new board
chairperson and will be deputized by Hon. Ruth Nvumetta Kavuma, a representative
from the members of the Public on the Board.
NIRA has for nearly a year been operating without a functional Board, following
the resignation of Professor Peter Kasenene in March 2018. Professor Kasenene
said he had resigned for health reasons.
Others on the Board are; James Saaka, representing the National IT Authority
(NITA-U). He is also NITA-U’s Executive Director. Also on the Board is Bemanya
Twebaze, Uganda's Registrar General and Chief Executive Officer of the Uganda
Registration Services Bureau (URSB).
Meanwhile, Dr Paul Kintu will be representing the ministry of Internal Affair,
while Dr Chris Ndatira Mukiza, is the new representative of the Uganda Bureau
of Statistics (UBOS) on the Board. Dr Ndatira is the UBOS executive director.
On the Board also is Maj. Gen. Apollo Gowa Kasiita, the Commissioner for
Citizenship and Passport Control and Dr Betty Kivumbi Nanyonga, also
representative on the Board from the Public. Dr Nanyonga is a Senior
Mathematics don, at Makerere University College of Natural Sciences.
Biribonwa regretted the challenges faced by Ugandans who are in need of
services at the authority.