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UCC Sim Registration: Activists Rush to Court

A   group of activists under their umbrella organization Rights Trumpet have dragged the Uganda Communications Commission to the High Court civil division seeking to halt the ongoing registration exercise of sim cards.

UCC last week gave a 7 day ultimatum to all subscribers to have registered their   sim cards afresh using National Identification cards for all Uganda nationals, rx short of which they risked having their lines switched off permanently.

The activists however, buy through their lawyers led by Eron Kiiza argue that it is wrong and unfair   for the telecommunication regulator to allow only 7 days for the entire country to have validated their information with UCC regarding their sim cards.

“It is unfair and unreasonable to force Ugandans to validate their details in only 7 days as ordered by UCC. It violates the rights to communication,” said Kiiza.

“The directive and process doesn’t take into account the rights and interests of Ugandans in the diaspora who can’t travel back to have their subscriber details updated or verified in the 7 days given due to time and money hurdles.”

The lawyers also argue that foreign Ugandan embassies and High Commissions should have been empowered to conduct the verification exercise.

On the use of National IDs, the group says it is wrong to stop Ugandans from using passports but only their national IDs.

“It is unfair to force subscribers use only National IDs yet passports are also official documents of identification issued by government.”

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They say it is a discrimination to allow foreigners use passports yet the locals are barred from using the same documents to register their sim cards.

The group asked court to treat their case with urgency because only 2 days are left for the deadline by UCC to elapse.

Following a meeting with security agencies and telecom companies, UCC executive director Eng. Godfrey Mutabaazi a few weeks ago ordered for a fresh registration of sim cards using National IDs giving a 7 day ultimatum for the exercise to be done.

If your sim card is not updated by the 7 days, it will be deactivated,” Mutabazi told journalists adding that only foreigners will be allowed to use passports.

Recently while appearing on a talk show, Mutabaazi defended the exercise saying, “I know that some people will fall victim; in society there is always a few individuals that will abuse the system,” he said. “But we have to do our job. We have to protect the population,” he added.

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