The speaker of parliament Hon. Rebecca Kadaga on Friday afternoon expressed dismay at a declaration by the minister of ICT and national guidance Hon. Frank Tumwebaze to switch off unregistered and unverified sim cards by Friday midnight.
On Thursday afternoon, parliament of Uganda unanimously agreed to have the sim card registration validation exercise extended by a period of not more than one year.
However, addressing the media today at Media Centre in Kampala, Tumwebaze directed all telecoms to switch off unregistered and unverified sim-cards at midnight today as earlier scheduled. Adding that telecoms that will not comply will be penalized.
Now the Speaker has directed parliament’s rules committee to summon as well as investigate the minister over what she called contempt of parliament.
In her communication to parliament, the speaker said: this is the highest level of arrogance. We cannot allow the minister go on with this yet Ugandans have challenges and problems in registering for National Identity Cards
She added: Honarable members, as you aware, Hon. Tumwebaze is very rare in the House, since registration for National Identity Cards started, the minister has never addressed the House to give an update of the exercise. We cannot allow this to go on.
Kadaga said the move to switch off unverified sim-cards is a total disregard, disrespect and contempt of parliament’s resolution.
“Yesterday, this House debated and adopted a motion urging government to extend a deadline for registration, verification and validation exercise for subscriber identification module [SIM] cards in Uganda. The representatives of the people and the front bench largely agreed with this resolution”, she said.
“This is an affront to the people’s representatives and the country and it’s unacceptable and cannot go unchallenged.”
Kadaga added that the executive had an opportunity to present their contrary arguments on the matter yesterday when parliament was debating the motion.
Kadaga who cited minister Tumwebaze for contempt of parliament under rule 211 of the rules of procedure, noted that she was presenting the matter to the rules committee. She directed that the minister is summoned to appear before the committee on Tuesday next week to explain himself.