Special Reports

BIG STORY: Museveni Orders Gen Odong: Don’t Renew NIRA Boss Obitre–Gama’s Contract

President Museveni has directed that the employment contract of National Identification and Registration Authority (NIRA) Executive Director, Judy Obitre–Gama, should not be renewed.

“I have been informed that the contract of the current Executive Director is due to expire,” Museveni said in a letter to Internal Affairs Minister Gen Jeje Odong on May 18.

“Given the problems faced by NIRA especially, relatin to the issuance of national identity cards, there is a need to identify a new Executive Director preferably with a legal or information technology background.”

Judy Obitre–Gama has presided over the troubled institution since May 2015.

She, however, blames understaffing and inadequate resources for NIRA’s poor performance.

Despite complaints from the public over poor service delivery, the institution has not registered any tangible improvement. 

Minister Odong recently said the surging crowds at NIRA offices in Kololo were symptomatic of the inefficiency of the agency.

Most of the challenges affecting the authority include inadequate equipment, poor coordination between NIRA staff and the district coordination committee members.

Museveni’s letter to Gen Odong to look for a new ED NIRA

Other challenges are limited facilitation, limited office accommodation, unbalanced and unfavourable payment structures, inadequate understanding of NIRA activities and services by the local communities, and a considerable disparity between the approved budget and the overall performance of the project.

In 2019, MP Odonga Otto demanded from government a detailed procedure of acquiring or replacing a national identity card.

“The ordinary person has to come to the NIRA centre that is functional in Kampala. Who are the upcountry offices serving?” Odonga Otto asked, adding that “We rent office space and pay salaries for staff who occupy these offices, but still people travel all the way to Kampala.” 

His statements followed a huge public outcry over the grueling process of acquiring or replacing a national identity card.

In his letter seen by ChimpReports, Museveni ordered Odong to “work with the board of directors of NIRA and identify a suitable candidate” and “consult me, before a final decision is reached on the matter.”

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