ONC Round up: How the NRM Registration exercise fared countrywide

Former Minister and Mawokota South MP, Mrs Amelia Kyambadde (L in Gomesi) all smiles after updating her membership details in the NRM Register at Nakyesanja Village, Muduuma Sub-county, Mpigi District (Photo/via @AKyambadde)

Kampala, (UG):- The exercise of registering and updating details in the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) Yellow Book concluded on Sunday, March 17, 2024, with 72,000 villages covered across the eighteen NRM demarcated zones in Uganda.

The exercise which began on Wednesday, March 13, lasted for five days as village registrars registered and updated member details in the party’s yellow book ahead of the forthcoming internal elections for both its leadership structure and the flagbearer positions for the national elections in 2026.

Despite a few hiccups realized in the exercise in some areas, the NRM Secretary General, Mr Richard Todwong described the whole registration activity as a success noting that the party is not considering extending the dates, but rather the secretariat is devising means of dealing with areas which reported anomalies during the exercise.

“We received a lot of complaints from people that there was not enough publicity but as a party, we said no, this is the beginning We have to close today and then when we retrieve these books, we shall take them to the zonal centres for digitalization and after that, we shall be able to update for those that have not been in a position to register,” Todwong said on Sunday, shortly after updating his party credentials at Teacam Village, in his home district of Nwoya, northern Uganda.

The exercise which started mildly on the first day saw the intervention of zonal coordinators from the Office of the National Chairman of NRM (ONC) spearheaded by SPA/PA Hajjat Hadijah Namyalo, set out on a door-to-door mobilization campaign rallying NRM voters to turn up and have their details updated in the Yellow Book Register.

By close of the second day on Thursday, March 14, 2024, the NRM Registration Exercise had already started yielding fruits, with several ONC coordinators reporting a massive turn-up of voters compared to day one of the activity. This further underscored ONC’s relentless efforts in mobilization support for the ruling party, thanks to the guidance of Hajjat Namyalo and the Coordinators.

In the City Centre and Greater Kampala areas, Hajjat Namyalo set out to lead the mobilization traversing through the city suburbs specifically targeting the youths to join the ruling NRM party, which she emphasized is a reigning force of Uganda’s leadership and source of empowerment to address their needs of being self-employed.

The ONC Boss specifically reached out to the ghettos of Nakulabye, Katwe, Makindye, Kiwatule, Kamwokya, and others within the city centre, before eventually updating her details in the NRM Yellow Book on Friday, March 15, 2024, at Goodwill Village, Kabalagala in Makindye Division.

How the NRM Registration fared in NRM Zones

Greater Kampala – Wakiso

In the Wakiso Sub-Region, which comprises Busiro, Nansana Municipality and Wakiso Municipality, the ONC Coordinators while carrying out their usual monitoring role of the registration exercise reported a successful turnout of masses towards the activity, especially after embarking on a door-to-door mobilization approach to get more voters involved.

Mr Happy John Bagenda, the Nansana Coordinator – ONC who personally visited villages in Gombe Division during the monitoring exercise expressed positive feedback as new members joining the party outnumbered the old ones updating their details, but more so, the turn up on from day two towards the end doubled that of the first day.

He, however, decried the challenge of limited engagement by the village registrars most of whom had kept the party registers in their houses in favour of their daily hustles, while some were protesting non-payment of their daily allowances for the exercise, thus choosing not to mobilize the locals.

In Greater Mokono;

Comprised of Mukono, Buikwe, Buvuma, and Kayunga districts, the ONC team together with the NRM Village Registrars agreed that to have all the party members registered, they had to move to people’s homes other than stationing in one place which at the end of the activity on Sunday, yielded amplified results in Namataba Town Council, Nama, and Kyampisi Sub counties and others.

The team however reported a very low turn-up specifically in Buikwe District, where even the door-to-door mobilisation was a big challenge as area leaders were nowhere to be seen, with the area known to be a stronghold of the opposition Democratic Party, while some youths within are mostly NUP supporters.

Greater Busoga;-

In Greater Busoga Region, the Regional Coordinator Ms Kyanika Rehemah commenting on the overall activity highlighted a few discrepancies in the registers particularly in Bugweri District which she says greatly affected the registration process.

Like in other areas, she also noted that in some registers, people who had previously registered with the party didn’t find their names on the registers prompting the registrars to register them afresh, something which according to her, derailed the exercise.

She (Kyanika) also reported incidents where some wannabe NRM candidates had wanted to manipulate the NRM Registers for their political motives, but ONC’s stiff monitoring team helped in handling them and their fraudulent booklets were confiscated.

Greater Luwero:-

The NRM Register Update in Greater Luweero and Wakiso Districts witnessed impressive community participation and awareness, owing to the fact that the region is predominantly represented by the opposition in the parliament of Uganda. At various registration centres visited by the ONC team throughout the exercise, there was a significant turnup of voters eager to participate in the political process by updating their party membership details which reflected a strong commitment to the NRM party’s objectives.

By Sunday, March 17, the registration process had successfully concluded with significant progress observed across various sub-counties and wards. The smooth execution of the register update reflected the dedication and coordination of ONC coordinators, staff, and volunteers.

The team was thankful for the door-to-door campaigns, community meetings, and media engagements, they effectively communicated the importance of updating party membership details and encouraged active participation.

Greater Mbarara:-

Greater Mbarara, which comprises eight districts including Mbarara, Ntungamo, Ibanda, Kazo, Kiruhura, Insingiro, and Rwampara also reported a positive turnout of NRM members in updating their details in the Yellow Book, save for incidents reported in Ibanda and Rwampara where the NRM District leaders clashed with the ONC coordinators over registration guidelines.

To effectively address this concern, the NRM leadership in the region, together with the ONC Greater Mbarara team under the guidance of Dr Tanga Odoi on Thursday convened a press conference and ironed out the discrepancies, aligning duties and responsibilities for each team to ensure a smooth flow of the exercise to its conclusion.

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They (ONC coordinators) particularly in Ntungamo District where the the First Hails hails were shocked to discover that in some villages, the registrars were doing double registration by first writing down member details in exercise books and later transferring them into the NRM registers.

Eastern Region;-

The highlight of the NRM Registration Exercise in the Eastern region unrivalled in Katakwi District when the Vice President, H.E Maj (Rtd) Jessica Alupo who also doubles as the Chairperson Katakwi NRM Veterans League turned up at her polling village of Oigo Imomwa, Aketa Parish, Ongongoja Sub County, on the first day of the exercise to update her details.

She, thereafter, rallied the masses to embrace the exercise ahead of the forthcoming electoral activities in the party and the country at large.

On the same day, the NRM National Treasurer Hon. Amb. Nekesa Barbara Oundo, also updated her membership in Busia District, where she emphasized the vital importance of the process saying the party will soon use the register for the internal structural positions that are elective.

The NRM National Vice Chairman (Eastern) Capt Mike Mukula also graced the exercise in the Eastern Region as part of his patronage duties of inspecting the party activities, particularly the membership registration/Update exercise.

Tooro Region;-

The Tooro Sub-region which comprises Bunyangabu, Kabarole, Kamwenge, Kitagwenda, Kyegegwa, Kyenjojo districts and Fort Portal Tourism City further witnessed a comprehensive registration exercise, with the ONC Coordinators on the ground reporting a positive turn-up of voters in the quest to update their details in the NRM register

In their execution of duties, Tooro coordinators actively monitored the progress of the exercise throughout the region and made efforts to encourage participation in the exercise through community outreach programs and media campaigns on radios and Televisions after observing a very low turn-up in the first two days of the exercise.

The above strategy increased participation in the exercise and later registrars had to resort to door-to-door mobilization to find more people either in their homes/businesses and others in their gardens/farms which also intensified the exercise.

The team however noted that by close of the exercise on Sunday, March 17, a bigger percentage of people had requested to be given more time as many cited lack of awareness about the whole registration exercise.

Acholi and West Nile Regions:-

In West Nile Region, the NRM Director of Finance and Administration who also doubles as the region’s zonal coordinator, Hajjat Medina Naham Ojale received a warm reception on Friday, March 16, as she supervised the progress of the party register update exercise in Yumbe district.

Hajjat Ojale commended the locals for responding to the call from party leadership to verify their membership in the yellow book.

In Acholi, excitement marred the residents of Nwoya District on Friday after 21 FDC executives in the district led by their Chairperson Komakech Innocent crossed to join the ruling NRM party and were all registered in the Yellow Books at their respective villages in the presence of NRM District Chairperson Obwot Livingstone.

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In the Lango Sub-Region, the trend was similar to other regions where ONC Coordinators spearheaded mobilization efforts through community radio talk shows and door-to-door campaigns, calling upon people to update their details in the ruling party’s register book.

The NRM witnessed a success story in Akolo Dong Cell, Amuc Ward Lira City West Division in Lira City when 52 new members crossed from UPC and swore an oath of Allegiance to the ruling party, after which they got registered in the Yellow Book.


Meagre Allowances;- In several areas reached as reported by ONC Coordinators, including Hajjat Namyalo the Cief Muzzukulu, the village registrars decried a meagre pay for the registration exercise, most of whom say the paltry shs10k is very minimal compared to the amount of work they undertook, considering that they even had to register all members afresh in some areas where registers were delivered with empty sheets.

Insufficient Training;– In other areas, some village registrars complained of not receiving sufficient training on the registration procedures, and conflicting guidelines from both the national secretariat and party district leaders which hampered the whole activity.

Technological Constraints;- The reliance on manual data entry hindered the efficiency of the register update process as some the registers had inadequate spaces for people to fill in their details for example in Kiyaga village, in Kabarole district, the registrar had to buy an extra book to have more registered because the register was full.

Non-standardized Registration Requirements;- Another universal challenge realized across the zonal regions is the missing names in the register for old members, plus lack of the standard National Identification Documents (IDs), a key requirement for the registration exercise, hence stalling the procedure in some areas where voters don’t even have or know their NINs. This, however, was later clarified by SG Todwong who directed even those ‘without IDs’ but are confirmed residents to be registered’

As the exercise concluded on Sunday, the NRM Secretariat said Village Barazas will now follow where all members will verify those captured in the register, including those crossing over from other parties or those who want to leave to weave out any cases of registering ghost or non-existent voters.

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