The chairperson of the Electoral Commission Justice Simon Mugyenyi Byabakama has condemned the act of destroying national identity cards by security agents as alleged by a section of the public in Uganda.
Justice Byabakama said anyone involved in destroying national identity cards whether they are members of security agencies or not, must understand that it is criminal, since a national ID is a private property owned by the holder.
Justice Byabakama was speaking at an event to commemorate International Democracy Day on Friday, at Kololo Independence grounds.
The development follows persistent allegations from sections of the public that it has become a habit for Local Defense Unit (LDU) personnel on night patrols, to destroy citizens’ national IDs if the owner refuses to give them money.
Authorities in charge of LDUs have neither confirmed this claim, nor denied its factuality, but have condemned it urging the aggrieved members of the public to always report the perpetrators to relevant authorities for punitive action.
Byabakama said that under no circumstance an individual’s national ID should be destroyed because the law are clear that no one has the right to destroy another person’s property.
He noted that individuals whose national IDs have been destroyed will be eligible to participate in the forthcoming general election as long as their names appear on the voters’ register.
He however advised them to report to relevant authorities and reapply for new IDs though they might be required to pay some money for it.
Byabakama expressed readiness of the EC to organize a credible election in 2021; which will be free of violence. He however appealed to all stakeholders to condemn acts of violence in elections since it undermines the essence of democracy.
“We have had unfortunate incidents of violence occurring in our election cycles but this is a clarion call that violence has no room in a democratic dispensation. We are saying; that should no longer be business” Byabakama said.
He also said the commission is engaging government to ensure availability of sufficient funding for electoral processes in order deliver a credible election in 2021, and to avoid glitches that may happen on account of inadequate funds.