30 October 2012

Uganda: View Point - Is SIM Card Registration Serving Intended Purpose?

Photo: New Vision
Communication Commission of Uganda has postponed switching off of fake phones to next year.


The government, through the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC), ordered the registration of all sim cards in the country.

The move, which will end early next year was intended to identify mobile phone users and curb acts of lawlessness, especially terrorism and murder ? just like the ongoing "blood suckers", among others.

Surprisingly, however, ever since the commencement of this exercise, there has been an escalation in the crime rate. Police's announcements of terrorist threats to the country are growing by the day. The ongoing 'blood-suckers' saga in Wakiso and Mityana districts, reports on child and drug trafficking and other forms of crime are on the increase.

The registration of sim cards as a basis for reducing crime has, therefore, come under doubt.

I personally believe the benefits of this exercise would only come to fruition if the government rapidly embarked on the issuance of national identity cards. These would definitely check some of the ills prevalent today.

Ivan Ssegamwenge,

Medical councils failing to play protective role

I am irked by what has befallen the profession I subscribe to. As I write, seven staff of Tororo government hospital are in Morikatipe prison over drugs theft.

This has happened, yet we have the following organs in place:

.The Allied Health Professional Council

.The Nurses and Midwives Council

.The Dental and Medical Practitioners' Council.

Because of its lack of trust in the medical councils, the government created its own institution, the Drug Monitoring Unit at State House.

It is disturbing that we subscribe to the medical councils, pay money, but it appears this only serves to line the pockets of those who hold office. We need to be protected by the councils we subscribe to. The seven medical staff are threatened by de-registration and serving a prison sentence over misconduct in their line of duty.

If a hospital has a functional administration backed by all management units, how do the drugs reach the so-called markets?

The drug monitoring unit has ostensibly exposed our profession as being one of thieves and I am disappointed that the councils we professionally subscribe to have not lived to their billing.

Why do you register us then if we are thieves?

No medical worker walks out of their house to go and steal, but the thieves just happen to be in our midst. As far as I am concerned, we have exposed our profession and put it to shame and the councils need to come out and salvage the situation.

James William Mugeni,

Clinical Officer-Tororo.

Why is government complacent on malaria eradication?

It is common knowledge that malaria is the number one killer disease in Uganda and that it is spread by mosquitoes. The government has so far not made much effort to protect its citizens against these killer insects, despite the existence of chemicals like DDT that can decimate them.

When figures on deaths caused by health problems are released, one would shudder to realise that Aids is actually no match to malaria, yet malaria is easier to control. The government may plead that the likes of MP Ken Lukyamuzi are making deafening noises on the use of drugs like DDT, but I would like to put it to the same government that it has been able to procure the necessary military hardware, such noises notwithstanding!

Many of us are willing to demonstrate against this killer disease, but I know that our demonstration would largely be against the inept way in which the government has handled malaria prevention. It is understandable that companies that manufacture anti-malaria drugs will sponsor campaigns against the complete eradication of mosquitoes, but government should gauge whether the lives at stake are worthless compared to the earnings from the drugs companies.

Interestingly, when the president of Uganda is meeting people during night time, he is always shown dressed to shield himself against mosquitoes.

It is my humble appeal that the government puts the necessary chemicals on the market and the population can then decide to use or not use them; otherwise, we are bound to believe that the government is trading our lives for taxes from drugs manufacturers.

Ahmed Kyendo,


Uganda's tourism bubble will burst, unless...

I am reacting to the viewpoint of Akankwasah Barirega, the Public Relations Officer for the ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities ('Uganda's Tourism growing steadily', The Observer, 22-23 October, 2012).

It is fantastic that Uganda is now viewed and talked about as one of the leading tourism destinations of 2012. However, unless something is done about customer service in hotels, restaurants and shops, the tourists will not only never return to Uganda after a single visit, but may also put other people off and the tourism bubble will well and truly burst.

I was in Uganda for a week until October 23, 2012 and was accompanied by two British friends. Whenever we entered some shops, I was ignored by staff, an inferiority complex many Black Africans still suffer from, treating other Black people appallingly and White people in a superior manner. In some restaurants where we ate, we would be fleeced.

Our food and drinks bills were usually two to three times higher than they should have been. We had to go through every bill with a fine tooth comb!

Slowly and surely, enough tourists will share experiences, and collectively make a decision not to come back to Uganda because of their bad experiences. Doing something about training and monitoring staff in hotels, shops and restaurants should be the collective responsibility of business owners and managers in partnership with the Tourism ministry.

Additionally, businesses with bad customer service as well as those fleecing clients should be named and shamed.

Winnie Ssanyu Sseruma,


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