Nakaseke Residents Struggle to Beat SIM Card Validation Deadline

1201 Views Nakaseke, Uganda

In short
The directive, seeks to synchronize information in the National Identity data bank, with mobile phone subscription. The validation can be done online by pressing 197. However, only persons with National Identification Numbers etched on their National Identity cards are able to have their simcards validated within the specified period.

Nakaseke residents are struggling to validate their Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) Cards ahead of the April 19 deadline issued by Uganda Communications Commission-UCC, last week.

The directive, seeks to synchronize information in the National Identity data bank, with mobile phone subscription. The validation can be done online by pressing *197#. However, only persons with National Identification Numbers etched on their National Identity cards are able to have their simcards validated within the specified period.

The number 14-digit number is unique for every individual. While Ugandan nationals are required to use their National Identification Numbers (NIN), to validate the phone numbers, foreign nationals use passports and refugees use information in the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) database.

UCC Executive Director Godfrey Mutabazi says all simcards that are not validated by Wednesday April 19, will be deactivated. Mutabaazi says the process will eliminate all non-registered, partially registered and pre-activated SIM Cards. It will also end the sale of sim cards by street vendors and the multiple registrations of simcards by an individual.

However, as the deadline nears, a cross section of residents in Nakaseke says that the online platform is problematic. Those having trouble are mainly persons whose simcards were registered in other people's names and as such the records on the National ID do not match with particulars obtained through the sim card registration process.

Robert Kinene, one of the perturbed residents from Kiwoko ward says his Sim-card bought in 2015 was registered in the names of Robert Kintu, an identity which does not match his National ID details. Kinene has since been referred to the MTN service centre in Kampala to have his problem rectified.  However, he says the process is now costly and time consuming.
 
// Cue In:  (Luganda) "Line ya Mtn …….
Cue Out: ………gwe gumu nnya"//
 
Similarly, Faith Wibalala, a resident of Wakyato village says that her Sim-card had already been registered in someone else's name by the time it was purchased. Wibalala says she has opted to withdraw her savings from the mobile money platform since she could not use her National ID to validate the Sim-card.

James Kalevu, a resident of Kigege in Kito Sub County says he could not succeed to validate his phone numbers even after multiple entries over the last five days. He says he has given up on the process, because every attempt returns an error.
 
Wilberforce Musisi, a resident of Butiikwa in Kiwoko Town Council says he has been frustrated by the lengthy procedure and high cost of replacing his lost National ID. Lost and damaged IDs are replaced at a cost of 50,000 Shillings.
 
// Cue In: "Obuzibu bwensiinze…….
Cue Out: ………ngenda kugesonyiwa"//
 
Uganda has more than 20 million mobile telephone subscribers. MTN and Airtel have the biggest share with more than 17 million users split between them, according to a recent study by Uganda Communications Commission. However, millions of the telephone lines are either non-registered partially registered or pre-activated and have reportedly been used by criminals in fraudulent activities.

The ongoing exercise is linked to developments preceding the recent shooting of former Police Spokesman AIGP Andrew Felix Kaweesi, who had reportedly received death threats from a non-registered sim card.