UBOS Plans night-time roadblocks to count people in transit

Dr. Chris Mukiza, the executive director UBOS who also doubles as the census commissioner, has explained how some people in transit during night time will be counted, revealing plans to stage roadblocks.

The Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS) plans to have roadblocks mounted on different main roads exiting cities and towns, so as to count people who will be traveling such as those in buses and track drivers, who may be leaving the country.

With just hours remaining until the commencement of the national population and housing census exercise, the statistics body has revealed to be 100% ready to conduct Uganda’s 6th census exercise.

Dr. Chris Mukiza, the executive director UBOS who also doubles as the census commissioner, has explained how some people in transit during night time will be counted, revealing plans to stage roadblocks.

He noted that individuals like street children, those sleeping on roads and trenches, are all considered as floating population. However, those in transit will be counted and given cards to avoid being counted twice.

“We are going to stage roadblocks tomorrow night, especially on the main roads exiting cities and towns, so that we can count them. We shall be giving them cards that show like a particular bus has been counted.” He said.

Categories of people like fishermen, police officers, private security guards, bouncers and journalists, all who may be working at night, will be considered as being on duty and will be counted from their places of work.

Citing the Uganda Bureau of Statistics Act Cap 310 of 1998, Dr. Mukiza further stressed that section 28 describes offences for one who may fail to participate in the exercise.

He said “anybody who knowingly or negligently makes in any return, form or other document completed by him or her under this Act or in any answer to any question or inquiry put to or made of him or her under this Act any statement which is untrue in any material particular, commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding thirty currency points or imprisonment not exceeding six months or both.”

Dr. Mukiza explained why the bureau has not been using this section, saying that as UBOS, they focus on encouraging people to voluntarily give out their information to enumerators once they come to their homes.

He also highlighted that the same law empowers the executive director to take any person to court, especially one who has hindered anybody giving information or one who is giving false information.

“But we have never done so in Uganda and we hope we shall not activate this section. It is irrelevant for example where you said some cults may stop others. Prohibiting others to answer questions is also an offence under this Act.” He noted.

On the same subject the minister of state for finance planning and economic development Amos Lugoloobi, emphasized that as a Ugandan, one has a patriotic duty to respond to this population exercise.

He said as a government, they would not want to go the hard way because they want every Ugandan to appreciate their country and the visitors as well to appreciate, that Uganda is a peaceful country.

“You should feel at ease to respond because this is for your benefit.” He said.

Lugoloobi assured the general public that all information collected during the exercise will be kept confidential and only used as consolidated data and NOT individual specific information.

As a country, the minister underscored that the de facto census approach is used, which means that people are enumerated from where they are found, regardless of where they normally reside.

“This also means that you do not have to be a citizen of Uganda to be counted during the census. It also means that you are not required to have a national I.D to participate in the exercise,” he added.

As the country heads into the census exercise on Friday, tomorrow night of 9th May 2024, has been gazette as the census night. The bureau says all the questions to the respondents will be referring to this same night.

The first day of the enumeration exercise which is 10th May was declared as a public holiday and Ugandans are expected to stay home, so that all those eligible are in position to respond to the questions from enumerators.

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