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Zambia’s SIM card registration drive finally ends

By , ITWeb’s Zambian correspondent.
Zambia , 31 Jan 2014

Zambia’s SIM card registration drive finally ends

Zambia’s SIM card registration exercise has come to an end on Friday with just about seven million SIM cards having been registered.

The Zambia Information and Communication Technology Authority (ZICTA) said in a statement yesterday that “it will not extend the deadline again”. Zambia has a total of 10, 347, 527 mobile phone subscribers.

The exercise faced a push-back from opposition political party leaders and certain subscribers who have accused ZICTA of not having followed the law in enforcing the registration exercise.

Opposition leaders have accused the Zambian government of aiming to invade privacy through SIM card registration drives and have threatened to sue ZICTA and the Zambian government if unregistered SIM cards are to be cut-off.

The registration exercise started in August 2012 and came to an end on December 31, 2013 but was extended to January 31, 2014 after the Zambian government said that less than six million SIM cards have been registered.

ZICTA has revealed that just over one million SIM cards have been registered during the one month extension period.

Opposition Heritage party president Brigadier General Godfrey Miyanda has warned ZICTA and the Zambian government against disabling SIM cards for subscribers who did not register.

Miyanda, who himself has refused to register his SIM cards with different networks, has threatened to take the Zambian government to court if his SIM cards were disable because he claims the action is ‘an abrogation of the citizens liberties.’

“The scheme must not be implemented and if it has to be, then it must not be under the presidency of President Michael Sata,” Miyanda said.

He said the circumstances under which the Zambian government has introduced the latest law on the registration of SIM cards is ‘worrying’.

The director general of the ZICTA Margaret Mudenda herself is being investigated by the Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) for professional misconduct over the manner in which she has handled the SIM card registration exercise.

This follows a complaint by a subscriber to the association that Mudenda acted outside the law in implementing the SIM card registration exercise.

Mudenda is a lawyer by profession and a member of the LAZ.

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