The National ID Project Consultation Meeting with the Minister of Internal Affairs

Published By UNNGOF |  February 6, 2014

As CSOs, we are honored to be invited for a meeting on this important project – the National ID Project.  We would like to note that this process represents a major step towards improving citizen-state interactions in the following ways:

  • The National ID project is important as a process of validating citizenship of persons leaving in Uganda.  Having an identification instrument will be an important process in ensuring that Ugandans feel and act like Ugandans and are able to claim their rights and execute their responsibilities.
  • The National ID project is an important mechanism for us that will allow for coordinated national data collection about citizens so that bio-data on citizens is easily collected, well-stored and retrieved.  This will certainly be very helpful in two of the major areas of elections and taxations – where citizen play a major role.
  • The National ID project will also give citizens an opportunity to ‘feel’ and experience a connection with the state.  The fact that citizens will have an instrument issued by the state will help to change their perspectives of the state and see the state as present in their lives.  The last time any such instrument existed was when citizens used to pay graduated tax.  This project is therefore important in building citizen energy and enthusiasm towards engaging meaningfully in the affairs of the state.
  • The National ID project is also an important step towards building an ‘Open Government’.  Around the globe governments are working to ensure that all their systems are transparent and that citizens know what government is doing.  Uganda has started with some efforts like the new Budget website but more needs to be done.  With a comprehensive identification process, Ugandans will have a chance to engage in processes where they are expected to play a part.

These and many other aspects do indicate that this is a process which citizens of any country have to give unreserved support.  Therefore Civil Society plays a fundamental role in this process which will include but not be limited to:

  • Mobilizing citizens all around the country in the areas where we work so that they can engage in the National ID exercise
  • Supporting this process as part of our national duty and contribution to building an efficient and effective government and Uganda society
  • Giving feedback on any opportunities and challenges that may arise in the roll-out of the exercise so that we all see a successful process going forward

A brief history about CSOs in Uganda shows that attempts in recent years have been made to document the contribution of NGOs to development of Uganda. Some studies have estimated that civil society in Uganda (in 1998 alone – when the last study was done) accounted for about $89 million in expenditures, equivalent to 1.4% of GDP, the sector employed over 230,000 workers, which was 2.3% of the country’s economically active population and 10.9% of its non-agricultural employment. We have not yet done a new study but have initiated a process in consultation with the NGO Board and the National Planning Authority.

If we consider that NGOs have currently grown by about 50% then we could easily be seeing much higher contributions.  The same study discovered that Civil Society was estimated to be one-and-a-half times that of the public sector workforce and over half as large as that in the fields of manufacturing combined. All the studies highlight important trends and dynamics of growth and development within the Civil Society sector and its contribution to the development of Uganda.

We hope to share more about this work and also work towards generating consensus around the role that civil society plays in Uganda.  Our sector is one that is sometimes marred with lot of unfounded suspicion and outright malice. It is important to have a comprehensive review and understanding of the sector.

We look forward to a revamped National ID project that free of all kinds of scandals as evidenced in the last efforts by your Ministry.  We also hope that government will work to ensure that the issues from the last scandal are handled conclusively in order to restore public confidence in the process.

We thank Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Honourable Minister for the initiative to hold this meeting and to reiterate our commitment to working with you in ensuring a successful National ID project for Uganda.


Richard Ssewakiryanga
Executive Director and Global Co Chair – CSO Partnership for Effective Development
Uganda National NGO Forum
Plot 25, Muyenga Tank Hill Rd, Kabalagala
P. O. Box 4636, Kampala, Uganda
Office: +256 312 260 373/ 414 510 272
Fax: +256 312 260 372