President Museveni has signed the new computer misuse amendment act fronted by Kampala central legislator Mohamad Nsereko into law.
The controversial law creates the offense of misuse of social media, also creating an offense for audio or video recording anyone without authorization.
The law was passed together with 3 others namely,
- the Mining and Minerals Act 2022,
- the Kampala Capital City (Amendment) Act 2022,
- the Physical Planners Registration Act, 2022.
Parliament on September 8, 2022 passed the law that has been described by the Collaboration on International ICT Policy for East and Southern Africa (CIPESA) as draconian criminalizing various uses of computers and digital technologies and largely curtailing digital rights.
In a report posted on their website, CIPESA lashed out at the law;
“Among the key regressive provisions is the prohibition of the “misuse of social media”, described in clause 6 as publishing, distributing or sharing information prohibited under Uganda’s laws. A highly punitive penalty has been prescribed for the offense: imprisonment of up to five years, a fine of up to UGX 10 million (USD 2,619), or both.” the report said adding that
“Other retrogressive provisions in the Computer Misuse (Amendment) Bill 2022 are the prohibition of sending or sharing of unsolicited information through a computer, and prohibition of sending, sharing or transmitting of malicious information about or relating to any person.”
Gorreth Namugga, the shadow minister for ICT and a member of parliament’s ICT Committee in a minority report tsaid that the issue of misuse of social media was not discussed in the committee and was not among the clauses the Computer Misuse (Amendment) Bill sought to be amended. She added that the ICT Committee did not make a deep analysis of the issue, and none of the organisations and individuals consulted by the committee offered any input on the matter.