The late Susan Magara

Following the kidnap and subsequent killing of Susan Magara, daughter to businessman John Magara, government has issued tough warnings on the issuance and sale of SIM cards.

Susan Magara, whose body was found dumped along the Southern By Pass in Wakiso District, went missing for twenty days before she met her brutal death at the hands of assailants.

Her kidnappers are said to have used 17 different unregistered SIM cards as they communicated with the late Magara’s family, asking for ransom.

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It is said they kept switching phones numbers as they communicated, meaning that they destroyed the SIM cards used as well as the phones.

Consequently, government is up in arms with telecommunications companies for issuing out numbers which are not registered as required by law.

Government has also issued directives prohibiting sale of SIM cards from the streets and ensuring that all cards that are issued out are fully registered by the telecoms using a personal National Identification Number (NIN).

In fact, in his own condolence message to the family of the deceased, President Yoweri Museveni alluded to the existence of unregistered SIM cards and lack of cameras as one of the key factors perpetuating crime.

However, in my own view, government is just in panic and must own up to their mistakes at a time when they seem to have failed to play their role.

For example, after the killings of former Assistant Inspector General of police (AIGP) Andrew Felix Kawesi and Prosecutor Joan Kagezi, government promised to get tough on registration of SIM cards using the NIN.

The authorities also promised to install CCTV cameras on the streets of Kampala as a way of curbing crime.

This therefore means that almost one year after Kaweesi’s death and three years after the death of Kagezi, government should not be giving the same excuses to Ugandans.

In fact, government should ensure that the right measures are in place before the worst has happened, just like in the cases of the Wakiso and Entebbe murders.

The law on registration of SIM cards is clear and when the citizens complained of the short time given to register their cards, time was allowed and those who had not registered after the deadline had their cards switched off.

How then can it come be that criminals have and are using SIM cards that are not registered using the NIN?

Could it be that criminals are conniving with elements in the telecoms to do this? And if so, where is UCC? Can’t it detect this?

Ugandans should never feel insecure in their country with an elected government in place charged with responsibility to protect them.