Telecoms in court over sim registration [Daily Monitor, The (Uganda)]
(Daily Monitor, The (Uganda) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) KAMPALA
Telecommunication companies have been sued for allegedly implementing Sim-card registration, an exercise allegedly marred by illegalities and irregularities.
Kampala High Court Judge, Yasiin Nyanzi yesterday allowed Human Rights Network for Journalists (HRNJ) to sue MTN Uganda, Airtel (U) Ltd, Warid (U) Ltd, Orange (U) Ltd, Uganda Telecom Ltd, K2 Telecom (U) Ltd and Smile Communications (U) Ltd.
The telecoms are being sued jointly with the Attorney General (AG) and the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) following an application to have them added on the case. "I do agree with the applicants on grounds, that the parties are important to have the matter effectively resolved and that they have the statutory obligation under the Communications Act," said Mr Nyanzi, directing that the said service providers be joined as parties in the case.
Questioning legalityActivists under the HRNJ-U and Legal Brains Trust (LBT) allege that legality, rationality and appropriateness of the August 31 deadline for Sim-card registration and its intended enforcement by way of switching off unregistered Sim-cards of existing subscribers are the subject of an ongoing court case.
In the September 2, notices to the firms, the activists said they were opposed to Sim-card registration because it is an erroneous view of the law.
The activists are seeking for court to declare that the 18 months' Sim-card registration exercise is a sham and fraud on the people of Uganda, and to indict UCC and its licensees as well as government for conducting the exercise unwillingly and in a manner that is damaging to the constitutionally protected rights and freedoms of the people. Through their lawyers, UCC has since indicated that they are not responsible for switching off unregistered Sim-cards nor intend to do so at any rate.
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