By Sania Babirye
Civil Society organisations; Un-wanted Witness Uganda together with activist Norman Tumuhimbise have lost a constitutional petition challenging the 2016 decision by Government to switch off internet and mobile money during that years General elections.
Five justices of the Constitutional Court led by deputy chief justice Richard Buteera have ruled that the said petition raised no questions for any Constitutional interpretation.
The Court stated that the said shut down of Internet and Mobile Money was justified and was in context and statute that they were made of.
The Government shut down both Internet and Mobile Money services on the 17th of February 2016 at the eve of the election day and when President Museveni was being sworn on the 11th and 12th of May 2016.
According to Government the move was done for security purposes since they had intelligence that some people had planned to use the said services to disrupt the peace of the country in those crucial days.
However, the petitioners sought court redress on grounds that the said Government decision was unconstitutional since it violated the rights to Freedom of Speech and expression, livelihood, life and violated National, Regional and International legal frameworks.
They claimed that the said shutdown further violated online freedoms and sought Court to issue a permanent injunction restraining Government from shutting down the said services again.
The respondents included the attorney General, the Uganda Communication Commission, MTN Uganda and Airtel among other mobile telephone networks.
Unwanted Witness Uganda is a civil Society Organisation that advocates for open ,secure and accessible Internet and human Rights and Good Governance realization in Uganda.