The biometric registration of National Resistance Movement members in Kampala district has been blamed for the problems in the party's primary elections today.
Biometric voter registration is new to Uganda. It was recently introduced by the Electoral Commission as a way of maintaining stricter control of the voters' register and to prevent electoral fraud. The NRM adopted the process for its voters in Kampala, registering not only their names, but recording their photographs and their fingerprints.
The new system meant that in Kampala, the NRM yellow registration books were abandoned for the computerized system.
Fred Ruhindi, the incumbent Member of Parliament for Nakawa, says that although biometric voter registration has its merits, in Kampala it was hurriedly compiled. He says many people were not registered and will not have a chance to vote in the primary elections.
Edward Baguma, the NRM chairman for Wilson Road village in Kampala, says a major problem of the biometric voter registration is that the list of voters was not made accessible to party members. He says that without scrutiny of the register, it is hard to ensure that the elections are free and fair.
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Susan Ojara, a candidate for election to the Nakawa LC3 council, says the biometric registration process is the least of her problems. She claims that she wasn't even aware that the party elections were to be held today.
Ojara threatens to withdraw from the NRM and to stand as an independent candidate if the electoral process is not rectified.
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Israel Kayonde, deputy chairperson of the NRM electoral commission, says the party adapted biometric registration because the yellow books were being abused. He says the register from the biometric system could not be displayed in time because some lists were just completed over the weekend.
It is still not known when the NRM will hold its elections in Kampala.