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Archive for the tag “UCC”

Total Disconnect: A New Sim-Card Registration Drive by the UCC!

Those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it.”Edmund Burke

The Uganda Communication Commission (UCC) must be a idle force of civil servants, a big bunch of lazy people who has very little to do or even trying to make up work. Because yesterday, a breaking news, which shouldn’t be breaking news is happening again.

The UCC and the Telecom Companies have had several of drives and issues with their SIM-Cards over the last few years. As the companies was even suspended from trading SIM-Cards for a while. That is what has happen. However, it is no returning. The UCC and National Resistance Movement (NRM) likes to toy around with the public and the Telecoms as they are fountains of funds, apparently.

In this spectrum, lets build a timeline before yesterday. The first deadline for registration of SIM-Cards was on 21st April 2017. Second deadline was on the 19th May 2017, but that wasn’t enough either. Because of that, it was postponed to the 22nd May 2017. Alas, that was not the finalization. The registration run continued until 30th August 2017. This was the final one of that SIM-Card Registration drive. 

The issues in the last go around was between National Identification and Registration Authority (NIRA) with the National ID Number (NIN) activation on the SIM-Cards, as well as the technical difficulties with the UCC and the Telecoms. Therefore, as the OTT Tax is in play, the state should know, whose is who and know who pays the tax or not. The SIM-Cards should be registered in some sort of system already.

That was the issue of 2017. Now the UCC is revising this and reissuing the same sort of activity. For whatever reason they have. As they now did on the 29th March 2019. Why it is weird, is that the Telecoms had new guidelines selling the SIM-Cards from beginning of August 2017. Therefore, the need shouldn’t be there?

However, this is the latest: “The Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) has directed all telecom companies to verify the identity of their subscribers who hold multiple phone SIM cards” (91.2 Crooze FM, 29.03.2019).

Didn’t the new guidelines of August 2017 set the status clear of the ownership of the SIM-Cards, even if they have dozens of phones. The new guidelines from two years ago should have been proper and established the ownership. Especially, since all the SIM-Cards needs the NIN have to be registered now. Alas, that is apparently not the case.

How, bad can you do a job? Or how lazy are you, since you have to repeat it again? After reviewing and revising it, two years ago and tanking the Telecom Industry, because in the last go-around the state blocked the sale of the SIM-Cards. Therefore, expect something similar in this circus too. Expect it going back and fourth. Suddenly, the President will come with an final order combined with the Minister of ICT Frank Tumwebaze.

That is just how these things goes. The State House has to have a finale say, before the stamp of approval. Than, this saga might be close to end, before it returns to years later with a new modification. Peace.

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MTN Uganda Not Subjected to an ISO Raid on Friday 15 February 2019 (16.0.2019)

MTN Uganda Scandal: Why are all of these people deported?

There are speculations going on there as the biggest Telecom Company MTN Uganda Limited have been under fire since the midst of January 2019. This has been shown over the recent month, as the leadership and executives have been deported. By my count since mid of January, there been four people.

The three firsts was addressed like this by MTN Group:

MTN Uganda has not been officially notified of the grounds for these arrests and deportations and is trying to establish the precise reasons for the deportations. We are understandably concerned about these developments and the wellbeing of all our employees. MTN Uganda is fully committed to respecting and operating within the laws of the country. Notes to the editor: On Saturday, 19 January 2019, the MTN Uganda Chief Marketing Officer, Olivier Prentout, was arrested by police at Entebbe airport upon arrival from a business trip abroad. On the morning of Monday 21 January 2019, the MTN Uganda Head of Sales and Distribution, Annie Bilenge Tabura, was arrested by unidentified security personnel upon arrival at the MTN headquarter offices, in Kololo, Kampala. Subsequently, both Mr Prentout and Mrs Bilenge have been deported from Uganda to their home countries, France and Rwanda respectively. On the 22 January 2019, Elza Muzzolini, Head of Mobile Financial Services was also deported from Uganda. – Issued by MTN Group Regulatory and Corporate Affairs” (MTN Group, 23.01.2019).

Therefore, three people has already been deported, this being Prentout, Tabura and Muzzolini. They have all been banished from the Republic. Today, it has escalated again, as CEO Wim Vanhelleputte, whose also has been interrogated and been questioned by ISO/CMI during January 2019. Was today on the 14th February 2019 deported to Belgium by the authorities.

Clearly, the state is retaliating, as they are fearing for their safety and the data shedding the company is doing. As there been speculation that the company has had disgruntled staff leaking intelligence to Rwandan Intelligence Service. This has been reported by various of online news-outlets. Therefore, some thinks it is connected to this, that the President and the regime is afraid of this. That is why these people are all deported from the Republic.

It is clear, that there something going on behind the scenes. As the Security Organizations summons, interrogate and deport MTN executives from the Republic. This is happening, as the state are trying to silence the MTN or stop leaked intelligence to Rwanda. We don’t know if that is true or what. But what we do now, is that the Ugandan government and authorities are acting swiftly and retaliates against the high-ranking officials within the Telecom. Peace.

The Media is under siege in Uganda!

There is no joke, there is no play in concern for the journalists in the Republic of Uganda. This can be said after the Uganda Communications Commission yesterday has suspended the Daily Monitor Online Newspaper after publishing a traditional healer story connected with the Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga on their pages in the end of January.

As that is happening, today, there was arrest of Next Media Limited, which are behind the NBS Television, who has arrested the wife Vivian Serwanjja of senior investigator Solomon Serwanjja, also arrested Kassim Mohammed, Rashid Kaweesa and Godfrey Badebye from the BBC TV. All of them gotten arrested today. As they were working on an investigation into government drugs and the black market trading in the Republic.

As that is happening, the journalists Raymond Wamala (Spyreports Uganda), Bob Atwiine (Spyreports Uganda), John Njoroge (CEO Magazine), Richard Wanambwa (Eagle Online) and Andrew Irumba Live (Spy Uganda) have been summoned by CID to be at the Police HQ tomorrow. Tomorrow they will be questioned and interviewed by the Police for certain stories they have posted or published. As they have been critical of the regime and what they are claiming. All of these has been there before, as the state tries to intimidate them from doing investigative reporting.

As, we see, it is a pattern, that repeats itself. Every-time someone digs deep or tries to uncover the truth. The state answer with intimidation, arbitrary arrests and even taking people hostage, like they have done in Vivian’s case. Today, Solomon has been hiding, therefore, the state took Vivian in instead. That is how they deem fair treatment of citizens and of the ones possibly exposing the oppression and unjust in society. While doing that, they themselves become criminals and outlaws. As they are just doing their job and trying to report on the events and acts that is done in the Republic.

The media is just telling what they are seeing, they are just exposing and revealing what information they are gathering and finding. They are not trying to make a situation look different than it is. They are trying to reports and explain the background and the context to all the acts that is done in the Republic. If the Republic and government has nothing to fear, then they should not fear journalists. But if the ills of society comes from the government, than the journalists will find it, as they dig into the realities and society they are apart.

Nevertheless, reporting and journalism isn’t a crime, they are just painting the canvass, they are not trigger the gun, but explaining why the person used the gun and the possible reasons for why the person used it in the first place. They are just painting the story, they are not creating the stories. That is reality, that is why these arrests, which isn’t new. The summoning of others, isn’t new either. In the middle of December 2018, the same people was summoned by the CID. So, they are doing it again, apparently.

The BBC has gotten arrested at Abim Hospital and in Kasese in recent years, as they were reporting both during the Campaign before the General Election. Also, as the Special Force Command was burning down the Palace in Kasese. I even remember the journalist outside of Besigye house in Kasangati, Wakiso, as Besigye was house-arrested. He was taken directly, as he was filming it live and was detained while he was on air. That was right after the General Election of 2016. These are just some quick examples, where the authorities has silenced the media. Because, they want to keep to people in the dark.

The Police continues to do this, the authorities wants this, but they are clearly sending the message, that they want to keep the public in the dark. Peace.

Daily Monitor: Press Statement on the UCC directing it to suspend the online newspaper (07.02.2019)

Uganda: Next Media Services – Press Release on the arrested journalists (07.02.2019)

Uganda Police Force: Press Release on the arrest of Journalists (07.02.2019)

Uganda: FCAU calls for the immediate release of journalists (07.02.2019)

Kadaga is off the rails: Using the UCC to stop Daily Monitor over a Healer Story!

The whole case of Rebecca Kadaga and possible agreement she made with the traditional healer Damiano Akuze, which the healer has claimed the Speaker of the Parliament has breached. As this stories are happening. Since we know Kadaga has addressed this already through the Parliamentary Clerk on the 1st February 2019, as the Daily Monitor on January 31st 2019, entittled “Traditional healer sues Kadaga, seeks shs 200m for job charm”.

We know this is a a story that the Speaker of Parliament don’t want out. As the Daily Monitor and East African has already deleted on their online outlet. As I checked after the original story on their online newspaper. It wasn’t there anymore as the publication tries to take a soft move towards the authorities.

The good thing, is even as that happen. There are other outlets who has used Daily Monitor as sources in the aftermath. As the Pulslive.ug published a similar article on the 31st January 2019. Where Salim Segawa reported: “Akuze claims in his suit that Speaker Kadaga had promised to build him a house, buy him a construction truck, a plot of land and four cows — all totalling to about UGX200m. The ritualist alleges that he was only paid UGX1m for the ‘job well done’. Akuze said he will provide evidence during the trial to prove Kadaga breached the contract” (Salim Segawa – ‘Ritualist claiming to give Speaker Kadaga spiritual powers to become successful sues her over breach of contract’ 31.01.2019).

We know, that this has hurt Kadaga, as of today, the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) sent a public letter to notify the Daily Monitor, that the UCC immediately suspend the Monitor Publication and does so within 5 days. As the UCC wants information and knowledge of things to secure that the Monitor Publication could lose their license, because of this article.

Therefore, this shows how the National Resistance Movement (NRM) and the ones in the upper echelon can use their means to silence the media. Instead of trying to tell another story or even continue the case in the courts as it was reported from. Then this wouldn’t have aspired to this level.

Even if the allegations made by Mr. Akuze are right or wrong. The Speaker, the UCC and the Parliament could have acted differently to the matter. If they care about the freedom of speech and the liberty to publish content. However, they want the sunshine stories, but not when it rains.

Speaker Kadaga, if she has enforced this or used her means of power to do this. Then she is assaulting one of the biggest media houses and online news outlets of the Republic. She does it because she doesn’t know how to manoeuvrer after the alleged story leaked.

Because of these acts, however, it makes it more believable that she did. Since she is so volatile and attacks with the spears of government. First dismissing it through the Clerk of Parliament, than a week later by using the UCC. That enforces the media licenses and can make media houses stop publishing.

If there was no smoke, there wouldn’t be any fire. But by the looks of it. There is more to the story, than Kadaga wants the public to know. This has hurt her pride and her privilege. She cannot use a helicopter away from this. Peace.

The 200 Shillings of Doom: Tumwebaze mixed messages concerning the Social Media Tax!

We knew that the statements of 2018, as the loyal ICT Minister Frank Tumwebaze hadn’t done his due diligence, as the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development (MoPED) issued a Social Media Tax last year after President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni wrote a letter to the Ministry of Finance asking for the opportunity to tax this.

That has no been done over the last few months, but as the realization of the effects are coming. The forewarning of CSBAG and others wasn’t listen to. I wrote that it lacked due diligence of the tax in June 2018 and today. As I open Daily Monitor and seeing that Frankie Boy has changed his ways. He has opened his eyes and seeing what some of us saw all along. As the cost of content, the cost of using social media and that this has ensured that it is less viable. Since, its the elites who can use it, but the lower level civil servants cannot afford to be online. That was natural, that the 200 shillings per day would be taken directly of the plate and also evaporate funds for investment within the Republic. It is a negative tax, and therefore, naturally have reverse effect, than what the state promised when they levied it.

Tumwebaze statement in July 2018:

When Ministry of Finance is borrowing, we, the Parliament and civil society are grilling them for borrowing. But when we say this is a sector that has grown in the economy so let’s get a bit of it, let’s get Shs. 6,000 from every holder of a smartphone consuming OTTs, what production capacity will it stifle?” (…) “Is USD 1,4 too much for a citizen to contribute to tax yet you have money to buy a smartphone, minimumly at Shs. 300,000 that is data enabled, and you load bundles of over shs. 30,000? Logically it doesn’t make sense” (Frank Tumwebaze, 17.07.2018).

Tumwebaze statemetn in January 2019:

The committee chaired by Annet Nyakecho said Over The Top tax seems to negatively affect the consumption of ICT services and products. In response, ICT Minister, Mr Frank Tumwebaze admitted that the tax is has had adverse effects on the sector. He said they were “hoodwinked” by their counterparts in the Finance Ministry that the introduction of the tax on the basis that it would widen the country’s revenue base” (Ssebuliba, 2019).

ICT Minister Tumwebaze was so positive and thinking this was the future. This was how to widen the tax-base, but instead. It has as expected made the usage of Social Media expensive. Which means also there is lack of funds for the ones operating within the Social Media and making Online Businesses. This is both happening because of the hard hitting taxes on Social Media, but also the Mobile Money Tax. Both taxes has both the Mobile Money Industry and the ICT development, as they are both having less activity and less usage. Which is natural, when the costs are going up.

The ICT Minister should have known this before speaking so warm about it. Any tax are taking money out of the system. The 200 shillings of doom is clear. The state could have listen to the advice, but didn’t open the ears to it.

In June 30 2018, Daily Monitor reported this: “Civil society organisations have accused the government of trying to stifle debate online with this tax, while others like the Civil society Budget Advocacy group CSBAG, say the tax will have a negative impact on a business.” (Hinamundi, 2018).

So, if the ICT Minister Tumwebaze could have known and stopped this. They could have done the right thing and not continued this path. Instead they have hurt the industry, because they are all blindly following the orders of the President. That is what the state did and they levied the 200 shillings of doom, as it was anticipated by anyone else. Than, the authorities itself. Peace.

Reference:

Samuel Ssebuliba – ‘Parliament orders assessment on impact of social media tax’ 18.01.2019, link: https://www.monitor.co.ug/News/National/Parliament-orders-assessment-impact-social-media-tax/688334-4940312-rph8g3z/index.html

Collins Hinamundi – ‘How government will collect the new social media tax’ 30.07.2018, link: https://www.monitor.co.ug/News/National/How-government-will-collect-new-social-media-tax/688334-4639596-juy8n3z/index.html

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