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NIRA withholds 15,000 national IDs of Maragoli community

The National Identification Registration Agency (NIRA) is continuing to hold unto 15,000 national identity cards of members of the Maragoli community on grounds that they are not a recognised tribe in Uganda.

The Maragoli community settled in present-day Uganda in the 1920s after migrating from the British Protectorate of Kenya.
 
Charles Ntairehoki, the Kiryandongo district Local Council chairperson, says NIRA has continued to defy the January 2017 directive of the minister for Internal Affairs Gen. Jeje Odongo to release the national IDs for those who were registered.
 
Ntairehoki says that Gen Odongo directive followed non-compliance by the NIRA after the Solicitor General had advised that the Maragoli community members be issued with their identity cards since they had already been registered despite not being constitutionally recognised as a Ugandan tribe.

People registering for national IDs at Kololo

During the mass enrollment for the national IDs in 2014, members of the Maragoli tribe aged 18 years and above registered for the cards only for NIRA to later realise that they were not a Ugandan tribe at the time of their issuance in 2015 hence withholding them.
 
However, Ntairehoki claims that since they are not registered as refugees, the Maragoli people who participate in Ugandan election processes are in a tricky situation as mandatory Sim cards registration exercises is cracking down on telecom subscribers who do not have national identification numbers.
 
“The attorney general wrote to the minister of the Internal Affairs on the same issue as per the advice of the solicitor general. Nothing was done. On 2nd January of this year the minister of Internal Affairs wrote to the ED, it was an instruction; release those IDs for the Marogoli community. Today is 23rd May, nothing has been done. They are missing out everything. Their phones are off, their children are not going back to school, their status is [unclear]. You’re planning for a population that is that is registered [but] an unregistered population is still amidst us”, he said.

He wonders how the children of the Maragoli people will be treated in the upcoming exercises of registering school-going children aged 5 to 16 years for national identification numbers.
 
Gad Tusiimire, who led the NIRA team for the children's registration sensitisation meeting in Hoima, said on Tuesday that the matter of the Maragoli community is a constitutional one, something that the government agency does not have powers over.
 
He however says that those already registered will have their cards issued as talks continue with high government authorities. He argued that non-recognised tribes must be registered under Ugandan tribes if they are to get national IDs.
 
Reacting to this complaint, Rosemary Seninde, the state minister for primary education, asked the Kiryandongo district leadership to write to her as the national coordinator for the upcoming national registration exercise in schools so that the matter can still be tabled in cabinet in regard to their children.
 
Seninde said the reason she needs an official complaint is in regard to Maragoli children who are currently neither refugees nor Ugandans basing on the undecided fate of their parents.

“I would like to ask the chairman of Kiryadongo to write to us officially; giving us that background. I know you have been making various communications, but let us also try another channel. Write to me as the national coordinator of this exercise but in regard to this particular exercise. You give a little background and then we shall write to the attorney general for some guidance on this because we must move and we must make sure that nobody is left behind” said the minister

Kiryandongo is one of the districts in Uganda hosting people from nearly all the recognised tribes in Uganda and long-staying refugees among others.

The Maragoli tribe in Kenya, sometimes referred to as Logoli or AvaLogooli, are the second largest of the 6 million-strong Luhya community, after the Bukusu. The dialect they speak is called Llogoli, Urulogoli, or Maragoli. Some of the Maragoli clans include the Gonda, Mavi, Sachi, Saniaga, Vulughi, Ndega, Sari", Ng'ang'a and Yonga.

Chapter Three of the 1995 Constitution talks about citizenship under Articles 9 to 19, where it provides for citizenship by birth, adoption, registration and naturalization among others.

Article 10 of the Uganda Constitution recognises as a citizen of Uganda by birth, persons born in Uganda one of whose parents or grandparents is or was a member of any of the indigenous communities existing and residing in Uganda as at February 1, 1926.

It also recognises those born in or outside Uganda one of whose parents or grandparents was at the time of birth of that person a citizen of Uganda by birth.
 
The Third Schedule to the Constitution lists and recognises 56 tribes believed to be in Uganda as at February 1st 1926. These include Acholi, Alur, Baamba, Babukusu, Babwisi, Bafumbira, Baganda, Bagisu, Bagungu, Bagwe, Bagwere, Bahehe, Bahororo, Bakenyi, Bakiga, Bakonzo and Banyabindi.
 
Others are Banyankore, Banyara, Banyarwanda, Banyole, Banyoro, Baruli, Basamia, Basoga, Basongora, Batagwenda, Batooro, Batuku, Batwa, Chope, Dodoth, Ethur, Ik (Teuso) and Iteso.
 
The list also has Jie, Jonam, Jopadhola, Kakwa, Karimojong, Kebu (Okebu), Kuku, Kumam, Langi, Lendu, Lugbara, Madi, Mening, Mvuba, Napore, Nubi, Nyangia, Pokot, Sabiny, So (Tepeth) and Vonoma.

Comments

+3 #1 Jonathan Kalani 2017-05-24 20:59
If they are voters then they are citizens!
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+3 #2 Gwok 2017-05-24 21:38
It is outright stupid to pick on the Maragoli tribe ONLY.

Why? (a) Only 15 tribes signed the Agreement with the Brits to constitute the Uganda State. Others were incooperated into Uganda later. (b) Uganda has no clear "nationality policy" regarding the many tribes that exist across our borders.

(c) As we witnessed during the last national eletions, a large number of "Ugandan" electorates were borrowed from across some of our borders.

Therefore, we cannot just pick and choose who is a Ugandan when the circumstances suit some of us.

The country needs a clear policy to address such issues. We recall the dispute between Kenya &Uganda in L. Victoria.

It is/was about both the territory and the IDs of the people who use that rock. Even president Idi Amin was called a Non-Ugandan.

I have heard a similar reference being appled by other to our current president that he is a Rwandan national. I say to our Parliament that we need a law that clearly defines us INDIVIDUALLY as Ugandans [or not].
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+4 #3 Lakwena 2017-05-25 08:23
Quoting Gwok:
It is outright stupid to pick on the Maragoli tribe ONLY.


(c) As we witnessed during the last national eletions, a large number of "Ugandan" electorates were borrowed from across some of our borders.

... Even president Idi Amin was called a Non-Ugandan.

I have heard a similar reference being appled by other to our current president that he is a Rwandan national. I say to our Parliament that we need a law that clearly defines us INDIVIDUALLY as Ugandans [or not].


In other words Gwok, at this rate under M7, Uganda has become a Republic of Refugees by refugees and for refugees.

That is how they are swarming in like Ngwen (enswa) from all directions, and fed better than the starving Ugandans.
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0 #4 Empayippayi 2017-05-25 17:49
Government says Uganda's population is 35 Million? Probably one third of it is made up of foreigners that have been ferried into the country since 1986, thanks to Museveni's quest to change Uganda's demographics in favour of refugees like himself.
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0 #5 Lysol 2017-05-26 00:37
It's anyone guess, that many other tribes mentioned in paragraph under" Other", would not comprise the original tribes in Uganda back in 1926.

Gwok is right there were only 15 tribes which signed the protectorate agreement with the British.

Could this has been a move by the regime to prevent the Maragoli tribe to participate in the coming elections back in Kenya?
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