Who is eligible to vote in Uganda? Interrogating the Nobert Mao failed nomination question in the 2016 General Election

In February 2016, Ugandans went to the polls for the 2016 general elections which were largely overshadowed by a number of irregularities both during the electoral process and on Election Day. One of the key issues that informed numerous discussions during the electoral process was on who was eligible to vote. This dilemma was mainly triggered by the mixed information and misinformation from the different Electoral Commission (EC) officials regarding the new compiled voters register. The EC, following their mandate to compile and update the voters register, collected data obtained during the National Identity registration exercise and based on this to not only compile a new voters register, but also to retire or archive the 2011 voters register. In essence this meant that anyone that missed the National ID registration process was missing from the new voters register. This assumption became more alive when previous Presidential Candidate, Former Member of Parliament and LC V Chairman for Gulu Municipality; Hon. Norbert Mao failed to be nominated due to his name missing on the 2016 voters register. This reinforced the uncertainty of many citizens’ eligibility to vote, notwithstanding the fact that they had participated in previous elections and still held valid voters cards.