Amendment of computer misuse Bill timely

Kampala Central MP Muhammad Nsereko presents on the floor of Parliament on July 19, 2022. 

What you need to know:

  • Why should we allow people full of hate to take public office? Imagine what such a person will do while in office.

Last week the Kampala Central Member of Parliament, Mr Muhammad Nsereko, tabled the first reading of his Computer Misuse (Amendment) Bill, 2021, which seeks to strengthen existing Bill, also introducing a set of offences punishable with serious jail terms.

With all honesty, this Bill is long overdue. For lack of a better law, people in Uganda have resorted to social media to blackmail, malign and defame others with impunity; well knowing that they are protected by the lack of a legal instrument to hold them accountable.

Lovers whose affair has gone sour have resorted to social media to blackmail each other. Some people have been conned out of millions of shillings because someone staged a camera in a room and later demanded for a hefty sum of cash not to release the inappropriate photos.

MP Nsereko asserts in his Bill that sharing of any information relating to a child without authorisation from a parent or guardian; or even sending or sharing of information that promotes hate speech should be punishable by the courts of law,  in order to prohibit the sharing of false, malicious and unsolicited information.

With all sincerity, Nsereko should be applauded for doing his job well knowing that we have people who have made this an occupation of sorts.

Listening to one Fred Lumbuye, a social blogger and a Julius Katongole running a Youtube channel called Paawa TV, recently the duo announced and also confirmed the death of Gen Salim Saleh.
The duo have insisted that Gen Saleh is dead, even when the Gen himself came out in public to refute the death announcement.

This gentleman,  the so-called social bloggers are announcing dead, is firstly a family man, he is a businessman and also not only a General in the UPDF but a presidential advisor on defence and security matters.

Do these so-called social bloggers have an idea of the pain they inflict on not only such a person but his family, business associates and the security of the country? Should we hide behind the pretext of freedom of speech to cause pain and to character assassinate others simply because there’s no law that will bring them to book?

This and more reasons are why I would entirely agree with Mr Nsereko that any persons found guilty under this act, should be barred from holding public office not only for 10 years but their entire lifetime.

Why should we allow people full of hate to take public office? Imagine what such a person will do while in office.

While tabling his Bill, Nsereko eloquently articulated his reasons on the floor of Parliament and if I may quote him, “The enjoyment of the right to privacy is being affected by the abuse of online and social media platforms through the sharing of unsolicited, false, malicious, hateful and unwarranted information. 

Regrettably, some of these abuses have also stretched to children where information about or that relates to them is shared on social media platforms without their parents’ or guardians’ consent”.
“A person who, without authorisation, (a) accesses or intercepts any programme or another person’s data or information; (b) voice or video records another person; or (c) shares any information about or that relates to another person, commits an offence”.

With the increasing citizen journalism, everyone is either a writer or a broadcaster, given the prevailing digital era we are in, it’s just paramount that social media is also regulated to avoid the misuse like we are already witnessing.

Steven Fredrick Magomu
Analyst and Communications specialist