Saturday May 17 2014

Computer rejects disabled man’s bio-data for ID

Mr Muto Ono P’lajur, who was turned away from the  ID registration exercise

Mr Muto Ono P’lajur, who was turned away from the ID registration exercise after the computer failed to store his photo. PHOTO BY JULIUS OCUNGI 

By Julius Ocungi & Martin Odong

Gulu- To add to the controversies in the ongoing national Identity Card registration exercise, a computer has rejected the bio-data of a man with disabilities at a registration centre in Gulu Town.

Mr Muto Ono P’Lajur, 61, a resident of Kasubi Village in Gulu Municipality, went to register at Laliya Polling Station over the weekend. But unlike others, whose bio-data and pictures had been saved in the computers, his was rejected by the computer because his bio was not compliant with the software.

Mr Lajur, suffered a stroke in 1999 which left him with deformities like stammering and uncontrolled body tissue movements.

He spent two hours in a queue at the registration centre waiting for his pictures and bio-data to be taken but when his turn came, the lone computer at the station rejected his information. He was turned away.

“I spent 30 minutes for the photo shoot, the enrolment officers kept on telling me to adjust myself, turn this direction and make yourself still,” Mr Lajur said.

The enrolment officers tried to put him in a stable posture, but failed. He was told his pictures could not be stored by the computer.

Mr Lajur has appealed to the Electoral Commission, which is overseeing the ID registration, to procure a software that accommodates bio-data of people with physical impairments.

Mr Charles Akena, an enrolment officer at Labour Line parish in the Bus Park Zone in Gulu Municipality, said they had registered many similar cases where the computers failed to register data of individuals due to body postures.

“Sometimes it rejects storing one’s pictures because the mouth is open or the head is bent,” Akena said.

Mr Raymond Lagara, the Gulu District information and technology officer, said they had received numerous complaints from locals whose photos could not be stored by the software because they were not stable during the photo shoot.

He said the computer software requires pictures taken to meet certain specific benchmarks. “We have sent the reports to the Electoral Commission headquarters to look into the matter,” he said.

He added that there is need for a software that accepts data of people with unstable body conditions.

However, he did not rule out the problem being caused by enrolment officers’ inadequate experience of the software.

The chairperson of people with disabilities in Gulu, Mr Simon Ongom, said: “Only the lame, blind and deaf have been considered in the registration exercise while other forms of disability like paralysis as a result of stroke, accidents and people who lost their hands or fingers have been sidelined.”

The countrywide national ID registration began last month and is expected to last four months.