ICT Minister Tumwebaze faces parliament wrath over Sim card shutdown

ICT Minister Tumwebaze faces parliament wrath over Sim card shutdown
Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga in her communication to parliament this afternoon, expressed dismay at a declaration by the Minister of Information, Communication and Technology Frank Tumwebaze (Pictured) that all unverified, un-validated and unregistered Sim cards will be switched off by midnight today. Courtesy Photo.

Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga has directed parliament’s rules committee to investigate Frank Tumwebaze, the Minister of Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) over the Sim card registration.

In her communication to parliament this afternoon, Kadaga expressed dismay at a declaration by the Minister that all unverified, un-validated and unregistered Sim cards will be switched off by midnight today.

Tumwebaze observed that the disconnection will affect all voice communications, implying that holders of unregistered cards will not be able to receive or make calls.

He added that the service for Mobile Money deposit will be partially active to allow a transition period for customers to either withdraw their balances or transfer them to registered Sim cards.

Tumwebaze added that while the switch off will disable voice communication on the affected Sim cards, the exercise of verification will continue.

The announcement was made despite a resolution of parliament to extend the deadline by one year. Parliament observed that it was inevitable to give Ugandans enough time to register and obtain National Identity Cards before Sim cards are switched off.

However, Kadaga described the move as a total disregard, disrespect and contempt of Parliament’s resolution.

“This is an affront to the people’s representatives and the country and it’s unacceptable and cannot go unchallenged,” said Kadaga adding that the executive had an opportunity to present their contrary arguments on the matter yesterday when parliament was debating the motion.

Kadaga who cited Minister Tumwebaze for contempt of parliament under rule 211 of the rules of procedure noted that she was presenting the matter to the rules committee. She directed that the Minister is summoned to appear before the committee on Tuesday next week to explain himself.

Government Chief Whip Ruth Nankabirwa says that Tumwebaze has not disregarded parliament since he does not work on his own but on behalf of parliament.

She cited a morning meeting chaired by the Prime Minister Dr Ruhakana Rugunda which discussed the Sim card registration process that endorsed Tumwebaze’s communication on unverified Sim cards.

URN