The Computer Misuse (Amendment) Bill, 2022 has been passed and will among other things restrict how Ugandans use social media and the internet to communicate. The Bill was introduced into the house by Kampala Central MP Muhammad Nsereko as a Private Members Bill.
In today’s plenary, Dan Kimosho, MP Kazo Constituency presented the Computer Misuse (Amendment) Bill, 2022 for the second reading on behalf of Nsereko – it was later debated, considered and passed. The Bill now awaits assenting by President Yoweri Museveni.
A new clause to regulate social media “Misuse of social media” has been inserted. This means that a person who uses social media to publish, distribute or share information, prohibited under the laws of Uganda or using a disguised or false identity, commits an offence.
Where the information under subsection (1) is published, shared or distributed on a social media account of an organization, the person who manages the social media account of the organization, shall be held personally liable for the commission of the offence, Parliament heard.
The Mawogola County South MP, Gorreth Namugga criticized the Bill and said that if the bill is passed into law it will stifle the acquisition of information. “The penalties proposed in the Bill are overly harsh and disproportionate when compared to similar offences in other legislations,” she said.
“The entire Bill should not be left to stand as all the clauses are already catered for in existing legislation and some instances offend the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda. The fundamental right to access information electronically and to express oneself over computer networks is utterly risked by this Bill,” she added.
The Chairperson of the ICT Committee, Moses Magogo, MP Budiope East, explained that the Computer Misuse (Amendment) Bill, 2022 is premised on the need to enhance the enjoyment of the right to privacy which is being affected by the abuse of online and social media platforms.