By Spy Uganda
Uganda’s next digital national ID card will add DNA biometrics to improve identity verification for service delivery. The documents already display the face and store fingerprint biometrics of the owner.
General David Muhoozi, the minister for internal affairs, informed the parliament that there are plans to issue “smart digital” IDs that use DNA when current 10-year biometric IDs expire in 2024.
Muhoozi said that new features including DNA biometrics are being added to “increase portability and verification to support global transactions,” while improving accuracy and the credibility of the credential for the planning and delivery of services.
However, the cost of the DNA national ID may have to come out of the Ugandans’ pockets, as Muhoozi said the program would not be offered for free. That idea drew criticism from Parliament Deputy Speaker Thomas Tayebwa, who said Ugandans should not have to pay for the national ID directly.
Member of Parliament Rose Obiga said that acquiring the national IDs has already been a challenge for Ugandans, having to pay will hit poorer citizens hardest and generate resistance.
While Uganda is ahead of some nations in creating programs for biometric passports, driving licenses and similar identity documents, implementation is another story.
Recent reports indicate that there is a backlog of applications for biometric passports causing travel delays and cancellations. Also, a coalition of civil society organizations has sued the Ugandan government for allegedly creating a barrier for women and seniors with the national ID.