By Norman Isaac Mwambazi
On Thursday December 31, 2020, reports made rounds on social media indicating that voters who do not have the Voter Location Slip (VLS), or fail to present it on the polling day will not be allowed to vote even if they are in the voters register.
However, the matter has since raised eyebrows amongst several Ugandans, many of regard this as a ploy by the Electoral Commission (EC) aimed at blocking them from voting.
Some of them have since voiced their concern about the matter and among them is Lubega Martin Depaul (@DepaulLubega), who asked on Twitter thus;
“Dear Paul Bukenya, what is the implication of one not having the voters’ slip on the voting day? Now that one can find out their details using the EC website, is there a reason to worry not having it?”
However, in reply to all the queries raised, EC Acting Spokesperson Paul Bukenya has since clarified that the reports are misleading, and that voters will be able to vote without the slips. However, he highlighted the importance of having it by saying that;
“Voter Location Slip informs and guides a voter to his/her polling station and identifies a voter on polling day. But the Register is the primary document for polling. A voter whose name is in the Register but is unable to produce a VLS on polling day will be allowed to vote.”
Meanwhile, the EC kicked off the process of accrediting national and international election observers for the 2021 Elections. The EC Accreditation Centre is based at Serena Kampala Hotel, Kampala, and will process applications up to January 11th, 2021.
It should be noted that the European Union (EU) announced last year that they would not be able to send election observers due to the COVID-19 pandemic that affected their logistics and that they would instead send election watchers, a move that was rejected by the government of Uganda through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.