Biometric Voter Verification System Defective - Mbabazi

2241 Views Kampala, Uganda

In short
In a letter addressed to the Electoral Commission Chairman Eng Badru Kiggundu, Mbabazi stated that his team tested the system and discovered inefficiencies with 60 failure to recognize finger prints at the first attempt. They also established that fingerprints taken from the thumb and index fingers were not easily read by the scanner.

Independent presidential candidate Amama Mbabazi says that the Biometric Voter Verification System that the Electoral Commission is using to authenticate voters has defections and can easily be manipulated.

In a letter addressed to the Electoral Commission Chairman Eng Badru Kiggundu, Mbabazi stated that his team tested the system and discovered inefficiencies with 60% failure to recognize finger prints at the first attempt. They also established that fingerprints taken from the thumb and index fingers were not easily read by the scanner.

Defections in the operation of the systems were identified when Go Forward technical teams went out on a demonstration on the use of the Biometric Voter Verification System and to familiarize themselves with its operation.

The teams were stationed in the districts of Mukono, Ntinda-Nakawa Division in Kampala and Luweero where they tested the viability of the technology.

‘Overall, our observations indicated inefficiencies in the system with 60% failure to recognize finger prints first time. This was found to be time wasting as each voter requires up to 2 minutes or more to verify their names using the BVVS. This would mean that only up to 48% of registered voters at a given station would have voted at the end of the day,' Mbabazi observes in the letter.

He adds that that in their findings, fingerprints cannot be used to search for a record, but are verified against a record that has already been searched which according to Mbabazi is a flaw in the system.

‘In a good system, when one places their finger on the scanner, it should bring up their record automatically. The reverse is true here,' Mbabazi adds.

 Josephine Mayanja-Nkangi, the Director of Communications, Media and Public Relations in the Go Forward team says they have requested the EC to reinstate the physical appearance of a voter and his presence on the hard copy of the register as the primary voter verification criteria to ease the polling exercise.

But EC Public Relations Officer Jotham Taremwa earlier told URN that the commission understands that the system could face several technical hitches but adds that the commission has provided for the use of the Voter Location Slips (VLS), the National Identity Cards and the hard copy of the voters register that will be made available at all the polling stations to cater for any eventualities.

The system, which uses human body characteristics to confirm a person's identity, has been fed with data for all eligible voters to ensure that only registered persons with bio metrics data will be able to exercise their right to vote.

EC Chairman Eng Badru Kiggundu is optimistic that the system will eliminate incidences of double voting and impersonation during the electoral process and significantly boost the credibility of the forthcoming presidential, legislative and local elections.

 

About the author

Annet Lekuru
Annet Lekuru is the Uganda Radio Network bureau chief for Arua. She is new in this post, assigned August 2016. However, she is no stranger to URN subcribers and readers.

Lekuru started her journalism career in 2011 with training from Radio Paris where she worked until April 2015. She started writing for URN in May 2015 as a freelance reporter.

Lekuru loves and continues to admire URN because of the reporter privilege to identify and report on issues close to one's heart which offers an opportunity to the reporter to develop a passion in a beat and report on it exhaustively.

With a background training in Conflict Sensitive Journalism she hopes to graduate into doing remarkable and recognised human rights and human interest stories in the near future.

She is interested in reporting on issues of justice, law, human rights and health.