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Uganda Rises Up Against MTN Exploitation  

Describing the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) under Godfrey Mutabazi as a “toothless dog, mind prescription http://ccalliance.org/wp-content/plugins/sitepress-multilingual-cms/inc/wp-login-filters.php ” hundreds of Ugandans will this week take to the streets in Kampala to peaceful protest against what they have termed as “perpetual exploitation and thieving” perpetrated by telecom giant MTN, rx http://channelingerik.com/wp-content/themes/miao/inc/shortcodes/generator/shortcode-generator.php Chimp Corps report.

“This week starting tomorrow 17th Nov 2014, we are going to officially hand in our dissatisfaction note and complaint to the Minister of ICT Hon George William Nyombi Thembo at his office on Parliament Avenue,” announced Justus Amanya who is leading efforts to pressure government to crack down on MTN’s “undemocratic and 24/7 robbery.”

Ugandans accuse MTN of charging subscribers abnormal rates and unjustifiably deducting their airtime and internet bundles.

On Sunday, Phillip M Baitwa said the decision to petition Nyombi to take action against MTN “is not a joke.”

“I have intended it by loading airtime and don’t call anybody or any activity then all of a sudden I see call cost and money being deducted.  I support the advocacy,” he noted.

Sall Joseph Rukara Jr said “MTN is evil and doesn’t even have feelings for us. It’s undemocratic and 24/7 robbery. Their help desks, lines are always spooky and very awful. Then roaming charges are the worst and inhuman.”

Isaaks Cunnilingham urged the public: “Can we append signatures to a certificate of incompetence award to UCC? Whereas small radio stations will be closed for hosting ‘hostile’ ideas, never mind the people, these telecoms continue to rob and get away with only warnings from Mutabazi. This UCC-telecoms relationship is akin to the police sharing loot with criminals as the victims cry their lungs out to no avail.”

Ugandans further say they are emboldened by the Nigerian Communication Commission which this year slapped sanctions and a heavy fine on MTN for failure to meet key performance indicators and poor service.

The Nigerian Commission placed a ban on any promotions or bonus offers on this network, a move Ugandans say should be emulated by the UCC.

Ugandans also expressed shock that while UCC has developed Compliance Monitoring and Enforcement strategies to prosecute manipulative telecoms like MTN, the ethical market conduct and optimal quality of service in Uganda’s telecommunications industry remains horrifying.

Many Ugandans on social media especially Kampala Think Tank and Ugandans at Heart urged UCC boss Godfrey Mutabazi to resign for looking on idly as MTN continues to behave with impunity.

Arthur Mulumba also noted that, “We all seem to have been forcibly conscripted into SMS Media and True African pool of Wireless Application service consumers. We must have an “opt – out” option. I did not opt in and I don’t want to receive content I did not subscribe for, no should I pay for unsolicited spam.”

Teba Arukol said MTN in its adverts says access to internet is a human right but “has over the last one week, and if need be, counting all costs, abused the rights of over 8 Million Ugandans, according to its own statistics. Since then, no one cares.”

MTN Chairman Charles Mbiire (R) and Trade Minister Amelia Kyambadde at a a function in Kampala

Justus Amanya said Ugandans should sign a petition on Change.org to exert more pressure on government to penalise MTN’s bad conduct.

“Change.org is a global platform for petitions and activism. It greatly affects those calling themselves brands and righteous when in the actual sense they are meaningless. There’s normally global pressure discredits on such organisations that violate human rights in any form including abuse of value for money. MTN exploitation is non partisan,” said the activist.

UCC boss, Mutabazi says the telecom companies were barred from sending any more of these messages until they fully comply with a certain set of guidelines set by the regulatory body.

“In a bid to improve the quality of service and the quality of experience that consumers of communications services in Uganda receive, UCC has suspended all new promotions offered by licensed operators with respect to mobile communication services,” said Mutabazi.

He further observed that this moratorium will be reviewed only if the licensed operators so affected comply in full with the following conditions on their respective networks.

Mutabazi explained that an operational and sustainable mechanism acceptable to UCC, is being put in place to ensure consumers of their services are not subjected to mobile spam as defined under the UCC Guidelines on Content, Services and Applications, and that the quality of service offered for the various mobile communication services not only complies with, but significantly exceeds in a consistent manner, the associated standards set by UCC for such services.

However, Ugandans say this is yet to happen and Mutabazi has not taken action but only keeps issuing statements.

According to UCC Director in charge of technology, Patrick Mwesigwa, the ICT Ministry is expected to come up with a Bill spelling out tough penalties including sanctions against the telecoms whose bogus transactions have seen customers lose billions of shillings in double charges, unsolicited messages and incomplete telephone calls.

Call for action  

On Ugandans-at-Heart, people were more explicit:

A one Alani Asiimwe charged: “MTN Uganda you have stolen Shs299 and left me with Shs1. That money was for 10mb of data which you failed to provide after several attempts. The purpose of this communication is to remind you that you have forgotten the Shs1 and that you can take it as well since I have no use for it.”

It is thought Uganda is falling victim to multinational corporations who are now controlling politicians, media, government officials and pattern of consumption.

By destroying people and their economies, experts have always warned that unless multinational corporations are not restrained, they lay foundation for violent outbursts.

Quiz: Do you think government is doing enough to stop MTN’s exploitative behaviour?

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