As we said before, deadlines in Uganda are a big joke and this proves us more right than ever before. The President Mr Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, took to his twitter account to announce the extension of the SIM card registration and verification exercise till 30th August 2017. The president’s decision comes after a plea from the Members of the August house who had initially passed a Parliamentary resolution to extend the SIM registration exercise not to exceed more than a year.
On the day of the deadline, the Information, Communications and Technology, ICT Minister stuck to his guns and on the deadline date of 19 May 2017 directed all telecoms to switch off all unverified and unregistered SIM cards on their networks, through the Uganda Communication Commission (UCC), a move that caused a Public outcry leading us to yesterday’s events. While chairing the NRM caucus, where some MPs appealed for more time for SIM card registration despite the passing of the earlier deadline, the President responded and agreed the proposal to have another another extension of the deadline.
I’ve agreed to this proposal on condition that the new deadline will be respected. SIM card registration will therefore run until 30/8/2017.
— Yoweri K Museveni (@KagutaMuseveni) May 22, 2017
According to the Daily Monitor, Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda, yesterday maintained that Mr Tumwebaze’s views reflect the position of government, and that the minister will make a statement to the House on Tuesday. The Minister of ICT, Frank Tumwebaze, says he has not been summoned by parliament’s Committee on Rules, Privileges and Discipline for declining to extend the May 19th deadline for sim-card registration. Tumwebaze however says he will appear before the committee once he’s summoned. The Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga, recently directed that the minister appear before the committee for being in contempt of parliament.
Since the May 19th deadline, thousands of SIM cards have been switched off, and UCC has ordered all Telecommunication companies to address the concerns raised by their subscribers about their phones being switched off despite fully registering their sim-cards. Scores of people across the country have complained of the anomaly after the May 19th deadline.