Kyotera — Authorities in Kyotera District have suspended the registration process for the issuance of National Identity cards in Kakuuto Sub-county and Mutukula Town Council following the influx of foreigners crossing the Uganda-Tanzania border to acquire IDs illegally, Daily Monitor has established.
Residents from neighbouring Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi reportedly sneak into the country at night and register for National IDs during day time.
Ugandan authorities are now afraid this may compromise the security of the country.
For one to register for National ID, they are required to present two photocopies of the parents' National IDs, recommendation letters from both village chairperson and Sub-county Internal Security Officer (GISO) confirming their residence.
Mr Tony Kasule, the district information technology officer-in-charge of Rakai and Kyotera, said they were forced to suspend the registration exercise in the two sub-counties over unforeseen irregularities especially in the vetting process of the bona fide residents.
"It has been brought to our attention that the people (village chairpersons and GISOs) in the two sub-counties (Mutukula and Kakuuto), who are supposed to recommend residents to get National IDs, have been compromised," he said during an interview at the weekend.
He said in the meantime, residents in both sub-counties can only register for National IDs from the district headquarters.
Mutukula Police Station officer-in-charge of operations, Mr Innocent Agoli, confirmed that some non-citizens, especially Tanzanians, find it easier to cross to Uganda and register since they are allowed to stay in a 15 kilometre radius from their border.
Mr Steven Ssebunya, the Kakuuto Sub-county chairperson, said when they identified the loophole, they formed members of the vetting committee comprising Mutukula Town Clerk, Border Internal Security Officer (BISO), Police and GISO to send away some of the foreigners.
Ms Magdalene Nassolo, the village chairperson of Lwazi A in Mutukula Town Council, said some village chairpersons are tempted to ask for bribes because they are not facilitated during the National ID registration exercise.
Mr Gilbert Kadilo, the manager public relations and corporate affairs at National Identification and Registration Authority, said verification of residents is solely done by internal security organisation agents with the help of village chairpersons.
"We are not aware, but we are going to investigate those reports and take appropriate measures to avoid infiltration by foreigners," he said.
Kyotera District Internal Security Officer, Capt Remi Kamuhanda, said they are carrying out their own investigations and culprits would soon be brought to book.
"What they (village chairperson and GISOs) are doing is illegal and once we are done with our investigations, culprits will be taken to courts of law," he said.
Districts of Masaka sub-region, especially Kalangala, Rakai, Kyotera, and Kalungu have in the past decade witnessed a massive influx of foreigners mainly Rwandans, Congolese and Tanzanians who enter the districts to work on farms, oil palm fields and landing sites.