Millions of Ugandans without digital identity cards are still struggling to access vital services, six years after the IDs were introduced, human rights groups have said. The government data shows that a quarter of Ugandan adults, approximately 4.5 million people, did not have a biometric identity card in 2020, with pregnant women being turned away from health centres and the elderly unable to claim welfare payments.
Salima Namusobya, Head of the Initiative for Social and Economic Rights (ISER) says the report by the NGO shows that there are significant weaknesses in the digital ID system. The research focused primarily on the human rights impact of requiring Ndaga Muntu (National ID) for access to health care and social benefit programs, and more specifically how this requirement, with its basis in the 2015 Registration of Persons Acts (ROPA), affected women and older persons living in extreme poverty. More than 15 million digital ID cards – which are needed to open a bank account, buy a mobile SIM card, start formal employment, get a passport or a student loan – have been issued since they were introduced in 2014.