After the heavily criticized 4 day Social Media and Mobile Money Blackout that saw Ugandans pull out new tricks to bypass the blockade, UCC was awfully quiet during the blackout, leaving room for speculation on who exactly effected the blackout. UCC has finally come out to pronounce itself on the matter. In a statement on their Facebook Page, UCC is quoted saying;
” Good day to you all,
The Commission has received the feedback on the inconvenience the public experienced due to the limiting of social media platforms recently. Please note that the decision was in line with Section 5(1) (b) and (x) of the Uganda Communications Act, and was collectively arrived at with other stakeholders for the security of our country. All efforts were made to restore the platforms at the earliest possible.
We truly regret the inconvenience all of you might have suffered”
According to Section 5 (1) (b) of the communications Act
(1) The functions of the Commission are
(b) to monitor, inspect, licence, supervise, control and regulate communications services;
THE LEGALITY OF UCC’s DECISIONS
What is hard to understand is if UCC in exercising their mandate are not infringing on the right of the people as enshrined in article 29 (1) (a) of the constitution – The freedom of speech and expression which shall include freedom of the press and other media
It’s also important to note that article 2 of the constitution of the Republic of Uganda states that
2. Supremacy of the Constitution.
(1) This Constitution is the supreme law of Uganda and shall have binding force on all authorities and persons throughout Uganda.
(2) If any other law or any custom is inconsistent with any of the provisions of this Constitution, the Constitution shall prevail, and that other law or custom shall, to the extent of the inconsistency, be void.
On whether UCC’s actions in restricting the freedoms of the people is an infringement on their rights will be for the courts to decide (I guess).