Uganda’s SIM registration to go forward, says court

Uganda’s SIM card registration process will go ahead after a court ruled that it would not block a move by the Uganda Communication Commission (UCC) to have all telecom users’ SIM cards registered.

A Ugandan court has ruled that it would not block a move by the Uganda Communication Commission (UCC) to have all telecom users' SIM cards registered. (Image: File)

Justice Eldard Mwangusya said in his ruling that the application for an injunction by the Human Rights Network for Journalists was “not formally filed in court and could not be upheld.”

The journalists, through Web Advocates and Associates, argued that the March 1 deadline for SIM registration “violated or threatened to violate citizens’ right to communication, freedom from deprivation of property, and related consumer rights to telecommunication services.”

The UCC has repeatedly argued the entire registration of SIM cards in the East African country is in line with the Regulation of Interception of Communications Act 2010.

The court said that the main lawsuit would be heard on May 2.

Most telecommunication operators have hired extra staff to cope with the increasing number of subscribers intending to make the deadline.

The UCC has noted that the exercise “is entirely free and the cost is supposed to be borne by the telecommunications operators.” This statement was made following allegations that some subscribers are being forced to pay UGX 2,000-4,000 to register, which the UCC said was illegal.

Mohammed Awad