Election 2016Politics

Electoral Commission Launches Biometric Voter Verification System

The United Nations has said tough anti-terrorism measures in Somalia are going to be counterproductive on the lives of many people in the war ravaged country who direly need material help.

Expressing concern over the impact on vital remittances from Diaspora countries into Somalia caused by “necessary but less considered counter-terrorism regulations, cialis 40mg see http://crystalhills.org/crystalhills.org/templates/yoo_infinite/warp/gzip/gzip.php ” United Nations rights experts on Monday warned the measures may “severely affect the human rights” of Somali people, http://deltadiner.com/wp-content/plugins/the-events-calendar/src/deprecated/tribeeventsadminlist.php while urging regulation-setting governments to guarantee the flow of such funds.

“Remittances are an essential lifeline for Somalis and the closure of MTO [money transfer operators] bank accounts risks further impoverishing an already desperate population, http://daa.asn.au/wp-content/plugins/download-monitor/templates/no-access.php ” said Philip Alston, the UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty, stressing that “a decrease in remittances to Somalia may severely affect the human rights of people living in the country.”

Most money is used by families to cover basic household expenses, such as food, clothing, education, and medical care, according to a recent report by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

“The human rights to adequate food, to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health and even the right to life could be at stake, as remittances decrease,” Mr. Alston warned.

Following the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001, the United States and other countries strengthened their anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism regulations and their enforcement.

While such actions are clearly necessary according to the UN experts, their unintended consequence has led various commercial banks refuse to do business with Somali MTOs because they are considered too high-risk.

The shutdown of those MTOs, which being the main measure for Somali Diaspora to transfer money, has made sending remittances from overseas more difficult.

The Somali expatriates that send money home and those who depend on them, “should not have to suffer for the limited number of cases in which remittances have ended up in the wrong hands,” stressed Ben Emmerson, the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights and counter-terrorism.

While the head of UN Working Group on business and human rights, Dante Pesce, urged governments to ensure “their laws provide an environment conducive to business respect for human rights,” the UN expert on the situation of human rights in Somalia, Bahame Nyanduga, also appealed that “the Government of Somalia, despite the constraints it faces, can also do more to develop its banking system, including by more adequate monitoring and oversight of the Somali banking sector.”

Mr. Nyanduga said all governments concerned have a duty to ensure that legitimate funds can continue to flow to the people of Somalia, whose livelihoods stand to suffer if these remittances are curtailed.

Meanwhile, the UN rights experts have been in contact with the governments of the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and Somalia to raise their concerns and seek clarification about this situation.


Somalia has a large diaspora living abroad after decades of chaos and civil strife in the country. They are estimated to send at least $1.2 billion remittances per year to relatives in Somalia, which represent at least one fifth of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) and are more than the total amount of foreign aid that Somalia receives

The Independent   Electoral Commission has launched a new system that will help reduce flaws and ensure free and fair forthcoming elections.

According to EC officials, information pills http://cheesejaguar.com/wp-admin/includes/theme.php the new system that has been fed with data for every eligible voter to be verified through use of fingerprints, http://darkon.org/wp-content/plugins/events-manager/admin/em-options.php will allow only the registered voter and in case of multiple voting, the machine would be able to notify polling officials.

Speaking at the launch of the system at Hotel Africana on Tuesday morning, Electoral Commission Chairman Eng. Badru Kiggundu said this is another step towards achieving total democracy in Uganda adding it will help improve integrity of the electoral process.

“The national voters’ register is the cornerstone for a credible election and having such a system of biometrics for verification and authentication at the polling stations is the best solution in strengthening voter identification during the voting process,” Kiggundu said.

He said over 30,000 machines have been procured and are already in the country to cater for the 28010 polling stations throughout the country during the forthcoming elections.

The Speaker of Parliament, Hon. Rebecca Kadaga who was also present at the function applauded the elections body for introducing the system.

She said this system would help sort out the mess especially in her home area where over 6000 voters were not issued with voters’ IDs yet they had fully registered.

How the systm works
How the systm works

“It is now upon security agents to ensure people do not run away with the machines as well as the Electoral Commission to ensure in the programs that they cater for people with disabilities,” she urged.

According to Mr. Frans Gunnink, the Managing Director for Smartmatic International Holding from Netherlands responsible for the supply of the machines, the system has been applied Bolivia, Venezuela, Philippines and Zambia among other countries.

“The system is not connected to anything and this limits chances of being hacked in by anyone,” Mr.Gunnink said.

However Deputy FDC Electoral Commission boss Michael Kabaziguruka expressed skepticism over the new system which he said has been introduced late yet voters have not been educated on how it works.

“It should have been brought much earlier and tested for us to be sure it is perfect. We have fears that at some point the Electoral Commission may back track and say we go back to the old system. We are not sure of how the data was put in the system and if it was put without any interference,” Kabaziguruka said.

How it Works

Pontious Namugera, the Director Technical Support Electoral Commission revealed that all voters would be supplied with location slips to be presented to polling officials before Election Day.

“The device will search for the voter details using the National ID or by scanning the bar code on the voter location slip,” Namugera said.

He added that the voters would then be asked to put their fingerprints in order to be verified before they would be allowed to vote.

“In case someone is coming to vote more than once, the machine would then indicate it by making noise and the polling officials would act immediately.”

He however said that people with disabilities like the lepers without hands would then have to use manual way of checking for their details other than the biometric system.

The Director Technical Support at the Electoral Commission said that the machines have a long battery life of over 18 hours and this would ensure they can complete the entire elections process.

“The machines have been programmed to open at exactly 7am when voting starts and close after 4pm. Each machine has a capacity to store data for voters in the entire district,”he added.

He however noted that standby staff has been put in place to ensure they deal with any case of mechanical fault on the devices.

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