My position on SIM registration up until Thursday evening was that the deadline should not be extended at all.
Firstly because it sounds irritatingly as if someone is squeezing into a church or school pew, having come in late, and loudly whispering, “Extend there!” to those of us who came in early.
The arguments for extending the deadline are many and even appear to make sense but they are also silly – especially the one that goes, “Many people haven’t registered.”
Now that we have extended the date, supposing the very same people still don’t register? What then? A one-month extension? Followed by a three-week one? Till we are at five minute extensions?
The matter even made it to Page One of the national newspapers proving that our failure to keep time is truly a national issue.
A couple of months ago, a number of us vented angrily at Maurice Kagimu Kiwanuka, then Uganda’s official Representative to Switzerland, the United Nations, World Trade Organisation and other International Organisations, for embarrassing Uganda by generally being in existence. During the lecture that exposed him to the world, he started off by saying, “For us in Africa time is not an issue…”
He is laughing now.
The concept of ‘African time’ is now a reality with backing rather than sheer idiocy, until Ugandans who can keep time are in charge of our national affairs.
We have had one year (three hundred and sixty five days) within which to register our damn SIM cards, fill out forms and have our photographs taken. Some people – we sensible ones, did so within that period of time – proving that about 14million SIM cards are officially in existence.
I don’t even want to go into the reasons for the extension of the deadlines: Apparently the country would have collapsed into a silent heap if all the SIM cards were not registered; but if the immediate above were true, wouldn’t it stand to reason that people would register their damn phones?!!!
Reasons aside, the concept of “the deadline” has been defeated in Uganda. Some sectors, such as schools and media houses, understand this concept better than others. In school, you must hand in your homework or coursework on time so that it is marked and factored into your performance appraisals at the end of term. Schools have time-tables they stick to both for teaching/instruction and administration. This is when the foundation of keeping time is supposedly built and I honestly thought they were doing a good job till this week.
Media houses understand deadlines because if they don’t put a story in on time the news won’t be read at the top of the hour, or the newspaper won’t hit the street on time, therefore resulting in the news being stale. If this copy of Sunday Vision hit the street on Tuesday you wouldn’t buy it.
Or, apparently, if you have one year within which to register your SIM card, very difficult for the people who own the estimated 10million SIM Cards that had not been registered by March 1, 2013.
So what was the deadline for? What were the planned activities from March 1, 2013 going forward? And the ones after that? Are the security risks also being postponed? Will criminals also extend their evil plans for this time?
I am angry at them, but my anger is not useful. I had two suggestions during the debate over to extend or not to extend: 1) Install an application on all phones of people who haven’t registered their SIM cards, so that every thirty minutes a muscular arm extends out of the phone handset and delivers a hard slap to the left or right hand side of the head of the phone owner or: 2) Compile a list of all the people who register their SIM cards during this extension period and publish it under the banner: “PROPONENTS OF AFRICAN TIME: THE PEOPLE WHO GIVE UGANDA A BAD NAME”.
Option 1) above would be much more effective and beneficial to Uganda, but Option 2) is more feasible.
Somebody, please implement one.