The Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) has been dragged to the High court for giving Ugandans a short time to re-register sim cards or be switched off.
The Communications regulator gave a deadline of April 20th for all sim card holders to reregister.
Rights Trumpet Ltd, a non-government organistaion advocating for human rights says the time frame issued by UCC is inadequate to cover the millions of Ugandans who use mobile phones.
The activists lead counsel Eron Kiiza described UCC’s decision as both “unfair and unreasonable”.
“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.”
“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 seven days given due to time and [financial] hurdles,” Kiiza added.
It remains to be seen if Court will grant the activists’ prayers. But with UCC having directed all telecommunication companies to accept National Identity Cards for citizens and passports for foreigners, a considerable number of Ugandans without national IDs are likely to be have their sim-cards switched off.
The NGO also challenges the act of UCC to restrict Ugandans to only use National IDs as the official identification document for this exercise and deny them the right to use their passports and other official documents issued by the Ugandan Government.
Rights Trumpet also says Ugandans in the diaspora are being discriminated against by this 7 days ultimatum issued by UCC since they will have their mobile phones switched- off as there are no registration centers set up for Ugandans abroad.
Through its lawyers of Nuwagaba and Mwebesa advocates, the NGO wants court to issue an interim order against the 7 day-Ultimatum as well as orders permanently blocking such ultimatums since it’s a continuous process for Ugandans to purchase mobile phones and sim-cards.
The case has been allocated to Justice Stephen Musota who has fixed the hearing for tomorrow before assistant register Joy Kabajje.