There was a low turn up of voters during the national voter’s register’s display exercise at various polling stations visited by URN. Electoral Commission gazetted between February 9th and March 10th, 2020 as the dates for the national voter’s register display exercise.
During this period, voters were expected to visit their polling stations to verify the correctness of their particulars and photos on the register. They were also expected to identify ineligible voters, minors and dead for deletion from the register.
URN visited selected polling stations in Kampala on Tuesday at the close of the exercise to check how the exercise has gone. Edward Kiwana Nsibirwa, the Voter’s Register Display Officer at Kisenyi 2 Kasaato village in Kampala Central Division, said majority of those who turned up for the exercise were first time voters and youths.
He revealed that only 530 out of the registered 1200 voters at the pulling station were able to verify their particulars. Nsibirwa attributes the low turn up to the busy schedules that people have. Doreen Ayebazibwe, the Nakasero 4 Parish Election Supervisors, said only a small fraction of the voters turned up to check their particular as the exercise was winding up.
She said that only 200 out of the 620 registered voters on the register showed up to confirm their particulars. Ayebazibwe said that many people assume to be on the register because they have voted before. “People need not assume that they indeed are on the register because mistakes can be done and one’s name is taken off the register accidentally therefore it’s vital for people to always check to stop the mistakes from happening,” she said.
Molly Namata, the Voter’s Rregister Display Officer at Kamwokya central polling station, said that the turn up was lower than expected. She explained majority of the people who turned up were youths and first time voters. She however, couldn’t reveal the exact number of registered voters and those who turned up to verify their details.
Namata however, explained that many people shunned the process claiming that they checked their particulars late last year. At Nakasero 2 polling station at All Saints Church Nakasero, the display officers said that they spent most of the time waiting for people to come and check their names on the register but only a few showed up.
They explained since the exercise started they could receive 20 people on average each day. Kasubi polling station in Rubaga division North registered a low turn up with only 270 people out of the 800 registered voters, Muslim Girls’ Primary School Busega Rubaga division south polling station also registered 162 of the 850 registered voters.
At Banda primary school compound polling station in Nakawa division just a handful of voters turned up, mainly first time voters to confirm their particulars. Nsambya Estate Main gate polling station in Makindye Division East as well as Kapeke at Seventh Day Adventist Church in Kibuye 1 Makindye division west also recorded a low number of voters who turned during the voter’s register display exercise.
At Kanyanya police post polling station in Kawempe North Division only 180 of the 570 registered voters turned up to check their details. LC1 Open Grounds Makerere 3 polling station in Kawempe South division saw only 250 out of 700 registered voters turn up to confirm their particulars.
Jotham Tarewma, the Electoral Commission Spokesperson, blames the low turn up on the fact that Ugandans have the “I don’t care attitude and mentality”. According to Taremwa, most of the people who had voted before needed not check for their particulars on the register because their polling stations might have changed, which can help them to know where to find their voter slips.