As the Telecommunication companies like MTN are praised the by the government, the National Resistance Movement have clearly let the economy become addicted and need of the services provided by the different Telecom’s and how the operate as village banks. The further proof of this comes when looking into a study and of the value of Mobile Money. This is done by all of the Cellphone providers in different names, but has the same outcome. Either by sending money to village funds, paying for utilities or even add airtime for a friend. The report conducted and made by Economy Policy Research Center at Makerere University we’re an interesting read. Here is the quotes worth assessing over. The historical backdrop of the vast amounts of trillions shillings in the operations. Shouldn’t surprise anyone, considering that one third of Ugandan citizens use the Mobile Money and average rate of monies sent during a month are 250,000. With the amount of people and amounts traded by Mobile Money, it is a booming business and first trying of banking. But doing it directly by the phone and not at the offices of Standard Charted or Barclays. Just take a look!
“After 5 years of operation of mobile money services, the average adoption rate stands at 250,000 persons per month from inception (March 2009) to December 2015. The increase in access to formal financial services, from 28 percent in 2009 to 54 percent in 2013, was partially due to increased access to mobile money 1 See UBOS (2016), “National Population and Housing Census 2014”, Uganda Bureau of Statistics: Kampala services (EPRC 2013). Thirty-five percent of Ugandan adults have a registered mobile money account (Intermedia 2016). An additional 13 percent access services via somebody else’s account, including that of an agent. Mobile money account ownership surpasses the use of both banking and nonbanking financial institutions (Ibid)” (Makwejje & Lakuma, P: 6, 2017).
“Finally, mobile money balances are sensitive to monetary policy shocks, while the mobile money values of transactions are not. These results suggest that 1) Mobile money has helped households to substitute liquid and other lumpy assets for financial assets; 2) Mobile money has modest macroeconomic impacts; 3) Mobile money has the potential to improve the effectiveness of the conduct of monetary policy. These results provide additional evidence for policy makers to continue supporting the growth of mobile money platforms. In particular, policy makers should provide the policy and regulatory framework through which mobile money balances can become interest-bearing assets. This will further strengthen the monetary policy transmission mechanism because economic agents will be able to more directly respond to changes in the policy rate” (Makwejje & Lakuma, P: 17-18, 2017).
The authorities clearly has to assess it and look over the Telecom’s Mobile Money operations, as this is important part of transactions and business operations in Uganda. When such vast amounts of people using it and benefits from it. Where their funds turn digital and get traded instead of having dozens of shillings in their pockets as for balance for their trades. Also, gives the ability to send over needed cash up-country or even to family members. Therefore, the structure and the balances of people’s lives can be monitored and shows the interest-bearing assets. The help it has provided the society and also introduce a form of banking institutions to the public. Though this study did not look into the fortunes made by this sort of transactions compared to ordinary banking practices in Uganda. Which, would be interesting expose considering difference of cost for the consumer and Ugandan doing so. Peace.
Mawejje, Joseph & Lakuma, Paul C. – ‘MACROECONOMIC EFFECTS OF MOBILE MONEY IN UGANDA’ (June 2017) – Economic Policy Research Centre, Makerere University
The time line is already is insane, but to put it in perspective. The first deadline for the Sim-Card registration was on 21st April 2017. Also, on the 18th May 2017 the Parliament passed a motion where the Registration we’re possible to postpone it for year after the date of passing. The second deadline, that Minister of ICT Frank Tumwebaze was adamant who said it was the final date and show continue. This was the 19th May, when the state and agencies really authorized it.
After that many has gotten their phones silent and lost their lines, as they even we’re registered, the Uganda Communications Committee (UCC), National Identification and Registration Authority (NIRA) and the Telecommunication Companies as well. The exercise of the weekend has been problematic, as the costumers has flooded the offices and shops because the registration haven’t worked well. The State Authorities and the Companies was not ready.
Therefore, while the President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni is in Juba, South Sudan on the 22nd May 2017. The comes a message on Twitter: “I’ve agreed to this proposal on condition that the new deadline will be respected. SIM card registration will therefore run until 30/8/2017”. Therefore, for the Sim-Card Registration have been postpone again. The citizens and the authorities can continue to work and fix the problems. The companies and the authorities clearly has a vast mission on their hands. They have clearly not succeeding. Therefore, later this one come as well: “Ministry of ICT and other concerned govt agencies are authorized to allow this new window. I ask Ugandans to take this exercise seriously” (Museveni, 22.05.2017).
Therefore, third time is the charm for the exercise, in the meanwhile you can wonder if the ones who has lost connection. The ones that are disconnected because of the issues with the last deadline on the 19th May 2017. That is why many others lost connection on the 20th May. So now 3 days after deadline, the President shows a leading hand and because of the result. He is overturning the orders of the Minister of ICT Tumwebaze. They are getting another month to the 30th August 2017.
Certainly going from 21st April to 19th May, and today again postponed to 30th August 2017. So the people and citizens are given yet more time, but who needs it more is the Companies and State to figure out how to really do it. Since it seems to be not working now. The are blame-game by the Minister, Parliament, UCC, NIRA and the Telecom Companies.
We can just wonder how this will unfold, the story of the Sim-Card Registration is certainly not over. Not until the President and his minions says so. Peace.
Today, as its been hours since the deadline of Sim-Card registrations in Uganda, there been reports than many who has registered and had followed the procedure of the Telecom Companies and the State, still got disconnected. The Republic and the Uganda Communication Commission and their employees is clearly overstepping their mandate. As their illegally disconnecting civilians of their communications outlet.
The cellphones that are registered and has done the following registrations should by all means, work like normal and just be in the registry. Since that, alas is not the case. The Ugandans should now march to the UCC building and also flog Minister Frank Tumwebaze who are in-charge of this mess. They are clearly been taken hostage of the exercise. Even the likes of Inspector General of Police Edward Kale Kayihura and his two phone lines is shut, also General Henry Tumukunde has lost his phone. This is clearly evidence that the UCC and Hon. Tumwebaze are incompetent in their works. Also, Lord Mayor of Kampala Erias Lukwago has gotten a silenced phone line.
“If your MTN SIM card has been de-activated, please dial *197*3# and enter your National ID Number, followed by Given Name and Surname as they appear on your National ID. For Foreigners, please visit the nearest MTN service centre with your Passport or Refugee ID (issued by the Office of the Prime Minister) Please note: Your SIM card will only be re-activated after NIRA verification” (MTN, 20.05.2017).
There are news that some of the ones who are cut off, as mentioned yesterday the Mobile Money services would still temporarily work. There the subscribers are sending messages together with the money they still have left. As way of sending needed communications between each other. Still, there are millions of numbers and subscribers who wasn’t verified in time, neither had the capacity to be registered. Every Ugandan couldn’t travel to central offices of the NIRA or the Telecom Companies. Therefore, the loss of airtime and the phones. Show’s that the system wasn’t ready for it. Especially, when even central men in the NRM Regime we’re cut off. Opposition leaders was expected, as they are already heavy monitored and just luky for the government who wants to punish the ones not following the program.
There are many who got their NIN and got their verification of their numbers and registered on them. Still, the numbers has been switched off. This shows that the technology and the employees inside the UCC isn’t capable of the services they now has started. People are also worried about their data-bundles and airtime, that they haven’t been able to use before the deadlines even. There are so much money at stake and which has been invested into the Telecom Communication.
This exercise are really in the hand of NIRA, UCC and Hon. Frank Tumwebaze! They really have a lot to do and this tale is not yet over. There will be many subplot and the reasoning could be for getting more money into the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA), as the economy is in distress. Peace.
Hon Jacob Markson Oboth: “My wife has been trying to register for weeks but it is not successful. now having a wife who is not registered…” (In the Parliament of Uganda 18th May 2017).
There been two exercises done by the Ugandan authorities that has been hectic, it isn’t any by-election or polling. That is even worse than this, because the will of President Museveni has to honored and not the will of the ones throwing the ballots. Therefore, today’s proof of the ruthlessness of National Resistance Movement and their government. Are the decision to get the Sim-Cards of the citizens registered on the owners. So that the government can control and have oversight of who owns what number. Certainly for a government who already has the methods and known history of violating the privacy of the citizens with their interception technology. This has been done to the opposition leaders and their parties through the Chief of Military Intelligence at Mbuya hill, Kampala.
Well, this isn’t about how they have used FinFisher to track and monitor individuals that the state wants to control and get detained. This is about the general population and their cellphones suddenly has to not only get National Identification Card and Number (NIN) by National Identification and Registration Authority (NIRA) and follow the orders of Uganda Communication Commission (UCC). Therefore, when the Honorable Frank Tumwebaze has continued to push the registration, even as the first delay was to today, but the remarkable step was yesterday, the Parliament voted for a motion. That motion was to give up-to a year, but the Minister Tumwebaze had already made his mind. Take a look!
Yesterday’s Parliament’s Motion on the Registration:
“The deadline was due to expire today. Winnie Kiiza, the Leader of Opposition, moved the motion to urge the government extend the validation exercise. The shadow attorney general, Wilfred Niwagaba, seconded the motion, pointing out that some Ugandans have yet to get their national IDs due to the inefficiency of the National Identification and Registration Authority (NIRA). Speaker Rebecca Kadaga concurred, ruling that the extension should take not more than a year. NIRA had earlier revealed that 15 million Sim cards have so far been validated, while more than one million have been rejected for submitting inconsistent data. Speaking to The Observer at their offices in Kololo yesterday, Michael Muganga, the NIRA assistant public relations officer, said Sim cards that were not verified either had wrong national identification numbers (NIN) or the names didn’t correspond with the NINs” (…) “However, according to NIRA’s Muganga, while telecommunication companies have submitted 18 million SIM cards for validation, the actual number of those validated is only 15 million. “We have issued around 15 million ID cards; so, if they have said 18 million, may be there are people who have multiple SIM cards,” Muganga said. According to UCC records, Uganda has got 22.8 million SIM cards, and many subscribers have got multiple SIM cards” (Lule, 2017).
MTN Addresses the Concerns of Costumers yesterday:
“MTN added that “numbers that are not fully registered are on a soft suspension, from 8am to mid-day. Apologies for the inconvenience.” Experts said the suspension was one way MTN was driving awareness for registration, and also checking their systems ahead of the deadline which is midnight Friday. But many on twitter were outraged, demanding to know if regulations allowed MTN to do their tests before the deadline” (Uganda CrazyMedias, 2017).
Hon. Tumwebaze statement:
“As a national security measure, government embarked on an exercise of ensuring that every SIM card of an individual gets validated and verified for purposes of ensuring secure and safer communications. For that matter, instructions were given to all telecom companies through the regulator, UCC to enforce the exercise. The same way banks embarked on their KYC (Know Your Customer) principle, same should apply to the telecom sector for SIM card holders” (…) “The deadline of 19th May set by government will be enforced at Midnight. This is therefore to confirm that the deadline stands and all unregistered, unverified and un-validated SIM cards will be switched off initially for voice communications. In other words the holders of those cards will not be able to receive or make calls” (…) “Another measure taken by government to ease the registration, verification and validation process for citizens as demanded by Parliament and citizens, is for NIRA to allow new ID applicants whose IDs are still pending processing to use their application form numbers. Once they get their IDs, with the National Identification Number (NINs) then they can re-submit online using the USSD code *197#” (Tumwebaze, 2017).
This here are a proof that there aren’t a synergy between the government, even between Parliamentarians, like the Minister Tumwebaze doesn’t even care or listen to the Motion that was voted in Parliament yesterday, the 18th May 2017. What should make you wonder is that the first deadlines seemed to be in mid-April – around the 20th April 2017. As one of the companies wrote online:
“Hello Tangerians, To complete your SIM registration and avoid being disconnected, please WhatsApp your Tangerine number and a copy of your national ID to 0753333666, email email@example.com or visit our offices before Thursday 20th April 2017” (Tangerine Uganda, April 18 2017).
But on the day 21st April 2017, the day after first deadline, the postpone was to the 19th May 2017. Than on the 18th May 2017, the Parliament passed a motion making it possible to extend up-to a year. Something that the Honorable Tumwebaze didn’t listen to or follow. Therefore, he in his station took the powers and overruled the Parliament, single-handed took charge and pushed through. This with the knowledge that many people will lack their phone coverage, even if only limited.
“Minister of ICT and National Guidance Frank Tumwebaze has said the deadline for unverified SIM cards of 19 May will be effected at midnight. The deadline will only affect communication to enable mobile money customers to either withdraw their balances or transfer them to registered SIM cards” (NBS Television, 19.05.2017). So the Government, NIRA, UCC and the Telecom Companies have to silence many millions of Sim-cards. They are the ones who haven’t had the ability to get to NIRA to even get the National Identification Cards and the Numbers, which it contains (NIN). The National Identification Cards hasn’t been a smooth ride either for the Republic. So the need for this, is surely making it harder for villagers and the ones far from central towns. You can expect many in Northern Uganda, who will from tonight have phones that can only transfer mobile monies and not call.
This here isn’t only affecting the ones who has multiple Sim-Cards and hasn’t gotten them verified through the systems, the companies and the agencies who has to systematic it in their registry. If it wasn’t so, than this exercise would be unnecessary. Certainly, the ride has been bumpy and will not stop to be so. As even the wife of the Member of Parliament Oboth has to get registered today, as she wasn’t ready yesterday. There are many more who misses out and that isn’t cared for by Frank.
The State will leave a dozens behind, who has to scratch their monies and either find their ways to NIRA offices or the local government offices to get National Identification Card, even if they have that. They have to get to a Telecom provider who can offer help and from the up-country villages, that is a long ride and expensive one. So the city-life appears in the midst of villages, as they have to fix these issues. The millions missing will need support and will need help that the state should help with and not just use the Telecom to do their dirty works. Peace.
Lule, Baker Battle – ‘Uganda: MPs Block SIM Card Registration Deadline’ (19.05.2017) link: http://allafrica.com/stories/201705190314.html
Tumwebaze, Frank – ‘Progress on the SIM card Validation/Verification exercise’ (19.05.2017)
Uganda CrazyMedias – ‘MTN prepares for SIM-Card deadline with ‘soft suspension’ (18.05.2017) link: http://www.uganda.crazymedias.com/uncategorized/mtn-prepares-for-sim-card-deadline-with-soft-suspension/
The proof is there now in the streets of Kampala, that the Police are following the decree of Honourable Beti Kamya from 19th October 2016 and taking down the street vendors around Old Kampala and areas around.
“It was an afternoon of bullets, injuries and arrests as law enforcement officers proceeded to implement orders by Kampala minister Beti Kamya to get the vendors off the streets Amidst the show down, a number of arrests were made and many left in tears as they saw their means of livelihood taken away from them” (NBS TV Uganda, 25.10.2016).
That they are shooting at innocent civilians because of the words of a State Minister who hasn’t confined her actions through proper process in Kampala Capital City Authority or by any other leadership. The rules of law are apparently not important because the Honourable can just write a decree and the whole ballad of Police Brutality comes stepping on the doors, citizens, people and ordinary vendors who have been trading in the districts for years on end.
“Police and KCCA officers in running battles with street vendors as they try to enforce gov’t directive to get vendors off the streets, in Kampala” (NTV Uganda, 25.10.2016).
So a Government Decree or Directive doesn’t need any more procedure or decision making in the Parliament, not in the City Council of anywhere else. So the Carte Blanche for Central Government is now that loyalists of the Regime can do as they please. Which is a dangerous sport; if Hon. Beti Kamya find’s it illegal to catch grasshoppers because she hates the taste. Then the electric fetchers are illegal to put-up and the ones that before traded on that can lose all their livelihoods. Just like the men and woman today who we’re torn-out of their trading area and have to from now-on if it persist get enough cash to facilitate inside some market-hall or shops that takes rent. That means the former vendors has to gain capital to rent or buy plots to set-up shop. Something the state doesn’t facilitate. Not even through the SACCO’s which delivers empty 30 years promises that are viable as many of the UPE schools in the northern districts of Uganda or even just up-country; barely walls and books, just a teacher or two who hasn’t gotten a pay-check in months. That is the lovable system and their respect of their citizens.
The Movement have lost all touch with the grassroots and the citizens… when they are even barring the streets for their own benefits as the major banks fails to pay off debts made by the Presidential Election Campaign. The fall of Crane Bank, who is now under management of Bank of Uganda, the Cairo Bank is also on the steps to become controlled by the Central Bank as well. That shows the fragile monetary policies and the weakness of the fiscal policies in general by the Movement, as the self-centred organization it is.
We can also question the financial situation in the Republic of Uganda as the World Bank has suspended their agreed loans for infrastructure projects of Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA). So, the same Government who has issues with Multi-National Organization is now targeting street vendors for their trade. That Hon. Kamya has made ordinary citizens criminals for activity that has happen for decades and never been sanctioned.
The Issue I have is that this hawkers, street vendors as they have been there for so long. Not like the government and KCCA has ever done anything for them, but they at least has created to the economy. I am sure by my recon that many sells the Airtime that these big-tax paying cell-phone corporations and the communication industry like MTN, Airtel, Uganda Telecom and all of them needs to keep the citizens occupied with talking and texting each other.
So the needs of public aren’t necessary in the present time and the needy that do what it takes to survive aren’t good enough for the protection of the Police or the KCCA. The Government who has a fragile economy attacks those with the weakest economy and are the entrepreneurs that the Government have been bragging about. The Entrepreneurial Spirit as they we’re entitled to this in February and the Government men we’re all smiles.
This doesn’t matter now, the boda-boda’s, the newspaper sellers and the others who sell used clothes to live even. These people all of sudden doesn’t count by the Hon. Kamya decree they are useless and illegal. Not with an act or a new law, but a directive that set the standard. This behaviour is now the common grounds.
The Hawkers and Street Vendors might create noise and be hassle now and then. They might be distracting and even creating garbage, but nothing that the KCCA has been having issues with before. These sanctions are coming decades after the free market and liberty that came with the Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) ushered in by the current President Museveni in the 1980s.
The President has eaten a long while on these sellers and their trade, but now it is not enough. He needs are now for the foreign investors and bigger investments that capitalize more cash-flow from the banks and donor-community that he needs.
So the acts from the KCCA shows the systematic issues that are in Uganda now, together with the wish of splitting Kasese District, because the Ugandan Government has forgotten why they are there. They are not there for the MPs or the Government Officials, but they are there for the people and the citizens. The shooting of the families and street vendors, scaring them of their corners and everything… because a non-voted and non-discussed decree from Hon. Kamya that put this into order.
This is not news in some regards, but the reality is that the Movement has clearly forgotten why they exist and why they are there. Not for the sake of being there and earning monies of the budget or the tax-payers money. They are there for the common-man and to provide for them. Instead they are doing the same like they are doing to the Opposition, using live-bullets and arresting them for being there.
The Decree or Directive is only to show force and strength, the mentality is that sooner the Government has to live by the acts of aggression against civilians something that now will be with them. Not only against political opposition and supporters, but trading civilians who has done legitimate trade in Central Business District and now all of sudden been sanctioned by the regime. They been reasons for the giant companies and importers getting more units sold and the little tax-base that Uganda Revenue Authority has.
So this combined is a strange effort to consolidate the trading of Kampala and make sure the government earns their tax. That the Government and the Movement didn’t’ think about it… or question it boggles me, but the selfish principals of Hon. Kamya is evident as she wants to better than the ones before. An also show the Lord Mayor Lukwago that her words are law while his are worthless, like the acts today show. Peace.
I am going to discuss the Social Media Ban was between 17th February to 21th February in the middle of the elections the Government pushed it through Uganda Communication Commission who gave instructions to MTN, Airtel and Uganda Telecom (UTL) to cut the mobile-data and also Mobile-Money; which is important component for many Ugandans as the banks are greedy and has steady fees on having cash on the accountants there.
UCC explain why people can’t get on Social Media on the 18th February:
“Uganda Communications Commission UCC has finally come out to explain the very poor internet access that hit the country from midnight to the start of polling day 7.00am February 18 – and later. They switched it off, they said” (…) “Many people found it difficult to access social media, especially Facebook, twitter and WhatsApp” (…)”Mutabazi said many parties breached this and took their campaigns onto social media, the Electoral Commission asked them to act. Godfrey Mutabazi is the current Executive Director of Uganda Communications Commission” (…)”Leading Ugandan telecom MTN on their part came out with statement. “The UCC has directed MTN to disable all Social Media and MobileMoney services due to a threat to Public Order and Safety” (Musoke, 2016).
The great explanation from PM Ruhakana Ruganda:
“Briefing the media on Saturday at the Prime Minister’s Office in Kampala, Rugunda cleared the air on the recent controversial shutdown of social media platforms and mobile money services by the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC)” (…)”There had been reports that some elements had been planning to create violence and mayhem [ahead of the general elections]. So government decided to take some specific steps to ensure that the country is secure,” he said” (…)”he also said: “”Social media and mobile money services should be restored any time from now. Gov’t will be able to handle any distortions that may arise from the social media now that the main part of the elections is done” (Kizza, 2016).
The Surge of VPN:
The great news was the people found a solution and downloaded VPN, even UCC, NRM and other entities to spread the news did so; even the numbers might not be the total but at least 1,5 million people downloaded ways of rerouting the internet access through a VPN instead through the direct Airtime or Mobile-Company services. This was by some 15% of all usage of internet at a certain time used through VPN in Uganda. That is staggering numbers! To VPN services confirmed to a tech-site “TMSruge” that Lifehacks and TrustZoneApp confirmed over 525,000 at one time.
The most interesting is the report not confirmed yet but possible:
“They revealed to the President that data usage per day is $4,000,000 million while mobile money transactions generate $6,000,000 per day. Added together, telecom companies demanded that Uganda pays $10,000,000 per day their investment is not generating income. Power hungry as he is, the President instructed the Minister of Finance Matia Kasaija to sign a quick memorandum of understand with the telecom companies, committing Uganda to pay the above sums of money – $10 million per day of switching off”.
This here is not totally verified, by it gives an indication of how much money the government have used on the closing down the services of the mobile-companies; they are in Uganda to earn money and would stop having operations if they lost money by keeping their business. So it seems reasonable to get compensations for not being able to do business while having license to do it. As the Government want to have business and investors, therefore they have it in them… to pay them to hinder the public access to the services to shut-down the experience and information spreading through the social media and gotten funding through mobile-money.
As you can see the opening of the services after 5 days of shut-down would mean $ 10, 000, 000 million X Days, and its 5 days so the total bill on the Government to try to shut down the Social Media access $ 50, 000, 000 Million. That is a BIG amount of money and the way it happen while such great amount of public started using another ways of getting information and sending information says the diligence of the people to finds ways to do what they want, especially when it doesn’t contain any fear or danger.
Even if the UCC at some point during the Social Media ban they told all the users it was “Treason” and that they would fine and arrest the ones that did use the services; though it still was banned. The issue is that the UCC has to try and collect information on 1, 5 million people and citizens, it is not a court, they have the right to take out Transmitters and Jam broadcasts, and cut technical issues as the Social Media ban though not as effective as the government of Uganda wanted it; and by thinking the possible agreement between them as the Government did it, the Commission should struggle with it. The police struggle enough with the constant movement of RDCs and DPCs as IGP Kale Kayihura doesn’t trust anybody then his boss. I don’t know how they can jail the major part of people for defying their desperate move to ban something that all youth and grown people use to communicate with each other. That is a way you will not succeed in this day and age.
We might never see the agreement or the MoU, this here is still not facts, it is information spread on pages that are Anti-NRM and will be for the use of destroying the NRM-Regime and look bad. So there might be other numbers and such, but the thought that the Government had to pay the Mobile-Companies had to get compensated for the Social Media ban and the stop of Mobile-Money services. This here could be true. The other ones is verified and even government officials explaining the situation. So they believe that they did it for national security. Seem more like that wanted the world not to know the situation as they rigged the election and making the population enemies as the Social Media ban blocked them for addressing their lives online and keeping in touch through the apps and such there. They really looks foolish for banning it, while getting discredited for their actions against the rights to free speech and justice as individuals to express themselves even online during general elections. That has been tampered with, while the people didn’t accept it; therefore they went and used Social Media anyways! Peace.
Kizza, Joseph – ‘Social media, polls: Gov’t assures public on security’ (20.02.2016) Link: http://www.newvision.co.ug/new_vision/news/1417666/live-prime-minister-addresses-nation#sthash.8ucwxRCR.dpuf
Musoke, Ronald – ‘UCC “switches off” social media in Uganda on polls day’ (18.02.2016) link: http://www.independent.co.ug/news/news/11023-ucc-qswitches-offq-social-media-in-uganda-on-polls-day#sthash.2BwQEl2h.dpuf