There was the deadline and then there was none. Parliament jumped into the fray a minister here and UCC left to clutch at a straw. And then the President calling the final shots that confirmed what Ugandans had all along been predicting with relish.
The SIM card registration and verification deadline would be extended. Museveni did make the call on it barely 48 hours after telecoms switched off defiant and other crop of subscribers who were caught behind the red line.
“Chaired the NRM Caucus today where some MPs appealed for more time for SIM card registration despite the passing of the earlier deadline. 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. Ministry of ICT and other concerned govt agencies are authorised to allow this new window. I ask Ugandans to take this exercise seriously ” Museveni tweeted.
The President might have envisaged that his directive would be warmly welcomed by the majority of citizens given that he had fulfilled their expectation but that wasn’t to be.
As some people thanked Museveni for the stay of execution, many were instead not amused, turning the tables on the President by, among others, accusing him of killing institutions.
Some citizens said they expected it, but not without rubbing it in the eyes of Communications and ICT minister Frank Tumwebaze, who had insisted on the eve of the Friday deadline that the government decision was final and that there would be no more extension.
Denis Kisanje? @deniskisanje: I knew it as a joke this government has never been serious on any issue unless it’s concerned with @kizzabesigye1, another extension after August.
“Frank Tumwebaze undermined Parliament, he said Parliament is just for advisory purposes! Now what of the 200 advisors to the executive? Museveni undermined the powers of the Minister! In Uganda, we don’t have institutions, you can’t have institutions under a dictatorship,” writes Makerere University LC 5 councillor, Doreen Nyanjura.
Some Twitter users went point blank, indicating to the President that he had made it a habit to make it look as if Ugandans depended wholly on his decisions alone.
PAPARAZZI? @paparazi75: That’s what you (Museveni) are so good at; making Ugandans feel like their lives depend on you (god) & your decisions. That’s poor leadership.
Another touched on the decision as a stunt to appear as the white sheep among black ones.
Musana Robert? @musanarobert: Just another stunt to appear as a saviour to many? Right from the start he knew the time given wasnt enough but he waited till mps begged.
Musimenta Aaron? @RonMenta: You have really disappointed me. Get serious for once
JOSHUA @JustusAmanya @KagutaMuseveni, I think it is the government becoming unserious. This has been going on since 2013.
Yet another user took a swipe at the President, whose government has been tagging the SIM card registration enforcement to the idea that it was meant to deter and fight crime.
GAGAMEL TV @Kaguta Museveni will the crime wait as well for the next deadline?
But not all were disappointed with the directive. Some applauded the president for the new extension will allow the public enough time to register their SIM cards.
Moses M. Mwebaze? @MosezM: Unplanned project can’t succeed even with 2yrs. It was foul for government to issue a directive w/out planning for the project.
Kalule Ahmed Mukasa? @kals2011: Am unhappy with the extension but Your Excellency is the country’s Chief Executive; you possess broader wisdom.
ADIKIN JOYCE? @ADIKINJ: You don’t need deadlines to complete the registration process, you need brains and effective systems first.
Telecoms switch lines back on
Meanwhile, telecommunications networks expressed their willingness to switch the lines back on the moment they get official communication from government.
MTN Uganda?Verified account @mtnug: An update will be shared as soon as we receive official communication. Please bear with us in the meantime.