NIRA hunts for new executive director as Gama's contract expires

Saturday June 6 2020

Ms Judy Obitre Gama, the executive director

Ms Judy Obitre Gama, the executive director National Identification and Registration Authority (NIRA) will vacate office immediately the process to replace her starts. COURTESY PHOTO 

By URN

Ms Judy Obitre Gama, the executive director National Identification and Registration Authority (NIRA) will vacate office immediately the process to replace her starts.

Ms Gama, who has been at the helm of the Authority since 2015, will not have her contract renewed on the orders of President Museveni.

Gama's contract expires on July 15, 2020.

In a May 18, 2020 letter to Internal Affairs Minister, Jeje Odongo, Mr Museveni directed that a new executive director with legal and information technology background be identified to head the Authority.

"I have been informed that the contract of the current executive director is due to expire. Given the problems faced by NIRA especially relating to the issuance of national identity cards, there is need to identify a new executive director preferably with a legal or Information Technology background. I am, therefore directing you to work with the Board of Directors of NIRA and identify a suitable candidate. Consult me, before a final decision is reached on the matter,” Mr Museveni writes.

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Ms Gama’s reign at the Authority has been bogged by several issues in the issuance and replacement of identity cards. Some people who applied for IDs three to four years ago have not received them.

In 2018, the Auditor General said NIRA had failed to account for huge sums of money, which had been channeled to individual accounts.
NIRA was also accused of flouting procurement procedures during the exercise that was carried out in primary and secondary schools across the country during the national ID student's enrollment exercise.

NIRA’s mandate as established by the Registration of Persons Act 2015 includes the creation, management, maintenance and operation of the National Identification Register; the registration of all citizens of Uganda; the registration of non-citizens of Uganda who are lawful residents in Uganda; the registration of births and deaths.

In February this year, Mr Museveni appointed a new board for NIRA led by James Biribonwa, a Former Commissioner at Electoral Commission to help push the Authority to be effective.

Mr Biribonwa then tasked the Authority management to explain the detailed process of National ID replacement and explain why it takes longer.

Ms Gama, 50, is an academic who previously served as a lecturer at Makerere University law school and several board, including that of Uganda Registration Services Bureau, and Bank of Uganda.

She worked as head of legal and surveillance at Uganda Securities Exchange and as a lawyer for the National Environment Management Authority.

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