The Uganda National Examinations Board (Uneb) website www.eservices.uneb.ac.ug is inaccessible at a time when prospective aspirants for different political positions in the coming general election are rushing to verify their academic documents.
On June 18, Uneb announced set deadlines for the verification process, giving aspiring candidates for local government positions up to July 2 to submit their applications, while August 4 was set for parliamentary aspirants and August 24 for presidential aspirants. Over 1,500 electoral positions are set to be contested in next year's general elections at various levels.
Andrew Kabulasoke, a prospective aspirant for mayoral position in one of the two divisions that make up the newly created Masaka city says he has been opening the Uneb website almost daily but he is yet to get access to it. He says that at first, he thought that his computer had a problem until when he got a similar concern from another person.
“The deadline is soon clocking and there are many aspirants who want these services. They Uneb should work on the problem or put alternatives of receiving hard copies,” Kabulasoke complained.
Joseph Daka Ajuna who is aspiring for a parliamentary seat in Fort Portal has also gone through similar frustrations. Ajuna notes that he wants to have his papers verified first so that he prepares for his party internal process which might as well require him to present the same document.
"If it is a requirement that your documents have to be verified and their systems are not up to speed for the many candidates that will be contesting, then it will cause some delay. Basically, many activities will be halted because instead of concentrating on many things that would probably be of importance of publicising your candidature, then you be spending a lot of time verifying your documents," Ajuna said.
Previously, the verification process was conducted manually as aspirants took hard copies to the examinations body for verification. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the digital roadmap announced by the Electoral Commission, Uneb decided to handle the process electronically through its website.
Jennifer Kalule Musumba, Uneb’s principal public relations officer, notes that they have registered similar complaints from several people across the country and they have since asked their technicians to look into the matter to establish why their website is inaccessible so that it is fixed quickly.
“It is true that the website seems to be unstable. I have also received similar complaints. But let them keep trying. we have already notified our ICT guys (technicians) and we hope that this will be worked on,” Musumba said.
Electoral laws require that all prospective aspirants for positions of president, member of parliament, or district chairpersons must have a minimum formal education of A' level standard qualification from Uneb or its equivalent. Letters of verification of results are one of the basic requirements an aspirant present to the Electoral Commission two months before nominations.