Unwanted Witness Uganda calls for Investigation of ICT Minister to protect Parliament’s oversight mandate.

Kampala, 23rd/05/2017; the Unwanted Witness-Uganda is calling for an independent investigation into the misconduct and behavior of the minister for Information Communication Technology and national guidance, Frank Tumwebaze for disrespecting the institution of parliament.

On 18th May 2017, parliament passed a motion extending SIM Card verification exercise for 1year to enable majority Ugandans acquire national identity cards in order to verify their SIM cards. Butbarely a day, Minister Tumwebaze overlooked this motion and directed telecoms to deactivate all unverified SIM Cards throughout the country.

Tumwebaze’s defiance tendency is directly disrespecting the institution of parliament which calls for investigation and deterrence mechanisms to uphold the constitutional mandate of parliament.

After 2 days, president Museveni extended the validation exercise for 3 months, directing that all deactivated SIM Cards be activated, which directive was immediately respected by all telecoms and minister Tumwebaze.

“It is saddening to witness the erosion of democracy and rule of law in this country where institutional mandate has been taken over by individuals,”said Dorothy Mukasa, the acting Chief Executive Officer, the Unwanted Witness-Uganda.

She added that for democracy to thrive all institutions and organs of government should operate independently from each other without any interference.

Article 79 (3) of the 1995 Uganda constitution empowers parliament to protect the constitution and promote the democratic governance of Uganda.

Whereas Unwanted Witness-Uganda applauds the 3-month SIM Card verification extension, parliament’s motion ought to have been respected and enforced to respond to the slow process involved in acquiring a national identity card.

Unwanted Witness therefore recommends that;

(i) Upon completion of the investigation, punitive action should be taken to deter further disrespectful behavior towards the institution of parliament.

(ii) Parliament should urgently pass the much awaited Privacy and Data Protection Bill, 2015 into law to protect the citizens’ personal data and privacy from abuse and misuse by both state and non state actors.