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Rate of foreigners acquiring Ugandan national ID is alarming, govt official warns

Rate of foreigners acquiring Ugandan national ID is alarming, govt official warns

A spokesman for Uganda’s Internal Affairs Ministry, Simon Peter Mundeyi, says the rate at which foreign nationals bribe their way to obtain the country’s national ID card is worrisome.

At a recent weekly security briefing, Mundeyi said authorities had identified up to 10,000 cards issued to foreigners which have to be destroyed, The Monitor reports.

According to the spokesperson, foreigners mostly took advantage of the non-existence of a central database to defraud the ID-issuing authority, with some of the ineligible applicants disguising as Ugandans. He said there have also been reports of such foreigners using agents to bribe immigration officers.

He said some of the foreigners who come from countries such as Burundi, China, India, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda and South Sudan, seek to establish a Ugandan ID so as to obtain its passport.

Mundeyi cited a recent case in which two Nigerians and a Congolese were caught with Ugandan IDs trying to acquire the passport.

“The number of foreign nationals with Uganda national IDs has continued to increase and we are worried this could go up to the 2026 elections,” the official said, as quoted by The Monitor.

The Internal Affairs Ministry and the National Identification and Registration Authority (NIRA) have been working to identify, withdraw and destroy all cards obtained fraudulently by foreigners residing in Uganda.

Mundeyi noted that in some instances in the past, foreigners obtaining Ugandan ID have used the credentials to commit crime such as drug trafficking.

Another Ugandan interviewed by The Monitor expressed concern that some naturalized citizens of the country could be included in the cull, despite qualifying for the ID card.

Uganda has plans to introduce a new biometric ID card system next year, but a report by the country’s Auditor General early this year suggested the plan may not materialize due to significant delays. NIRA said at the time that its plans remain and that enrollment for the new generation IDs was due to begin this month.

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