Using Facebook still illegal – UCC

Abudu Sallam Waiswa, the head of legal affairs and compliance at UCC. PHOTO/ DAVID LUBOWA 

What you need to know:

  • The remark was made by Mr Abudu Sallam Waiswa, the head of legal affairs and compliance at UCC, while interfacing with Parliament’s Committee on Rules, Privileges and Discipline.

Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) yesterday said individuals using Facebook are doing so illegally.

The remark was made by Mr Abudu Sallam Waiswa, the head of legal affairs and compliance at UCC, while interfacing with Parliament’s Committee on Rules, Privileges and Discipline.

“It is true that Facebook was suspended because of many reasons including a general lack of commitment on their part to respect government’s directives,” Mr Waiswa stated.

Mr Waiswa said both Facebook and Twitter were blocked before the 2021 General Election over undermining the electoral processes in the country.

 “While some social media platforms were restored, for Facebook, talks are still ongoing between the company and government and that is why it is still officially off,” he said.

He added: “If you share content from those platforms, you can be seen as disobeying a lawful order and so, depending on what is decided, you [can] be charged with publication of prohibited content.”

Mr Waiswa was providing information on whether the social media account used to post messages allegedly abusing the Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Ms Anita Among, is owned by Mityana Municipality MP Francis Zaake.

It is alleged that Mr Zaake posted the messages on his Twitter account on February 9. They have since been deleted. 

In regards to this, Mr Waiswa said whereas Twitter and Facebook do obtain similar identification information about their account holders at the point of account opening, UCC does not have direct access to their registers for such information.

“The electronic devices (Mr Zaake allegedly used for posting) can be helpful in undertaking a forensic extraction to determine whether or not he is the one that was using the account,” Mr Waiswa told Daily Monitor later.

After the meeting Mr Eric Musana, the Buyaga East MP, asked whether the Committee deemed it necessary to interact with Ms Among but Mr Abdu Katuntu, the chairperson of the Committee, said it was not necessary since the main complainant in the matter was Mr Martin Mapenduzi, the Bardege-Layibi Division, Gulu City, legislator.

Last week, Mr Mapenduzi made a submission on the matter before the Committee and accused Mr Zaake of insulting the integrity of Ms Among and that of the House through his offensive communication on Twitter.

Mr Mapenduzi wants disciplinary action taken against Mr Zaake who serves as a back-bench member on the Parliamentary Commission.

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