Sim card registration chaos:  Military Police rescue women from aggressive men at Kololo grounds

Military Police were the real heroes at Kololo grounds! It has been a bad day for men who hoped to take advantage of their physique over women. I guess you all know Kololo grounds is a resting home of this Nation’s heroes and Military Police came in to honour that! With just a day to the official deadline slated for sim card registration, thousands of Ugandans who do not have national identity cards have thronged Kololo Ceremonial grounds.

By 9:15am, thousands had already taken position at the stands waiting to be registered; with many deeply engrossed in worry of what would become of their sim card validity if not worked on by tomorrow. Unfortunately, the process was not yet underway and only a number of officials were seen setting up the registration gear.

At about 9:30, the process got underway though at snail speed. Seven to eight people would get sent into the registration queue and the four officials present would take about ten minutes working on each individual. Access was heavily manned by a ferocious official with help from two Military Police officers.  Each time a new group of people were given access to the queue, a stampede would take place as many scampered to get a spot closer to the registration table.

Each time a person tried to sneak into the queue without using the proper channels, others waiting in the stands would rant loudly and chant “aveeyo”, a Luganda word that loosely translates to “he or she should leave”.  Military Police would then charge into the victim and summon him or her into the stands. The ladies would then chant praises to the Military Police amidst ululations. This seemed to add life to the people in the stands.

In the parking lot, many people kept losing hope and patience with the system. A one Margaret, who came in at 9:00am, said that she could not compete with the youthful energetics in the scuffle given the fact that she was old and handicapped. So she left the premises without a second thought. Before leaving though, she was quick to ridicule the slow system, the fact that the old and vulnerable are not catered for and the haphazard sim card registration deadlines.

Another who was also leaving the registration centre claims that it’s quite unfair that those picking their IDs, those registering for the first time and those who lost their cards have to wait in the same cue. He went on to ridicule the system for being disorganized, worse still with very limited manpower.

A father who turned up with his child says that he turned up yesterday at noon, but to his dismay not even half the population present was worked upon. He had come back today to register but was discouraged by the big number of masses and worse still, the manpower present was less than that of the day before. When asked about his opinion on being disconnected after tomorrow’s deadline, he said he would have nothing to do because he had already lost a lot of business on the two days he had turned up at the centre.

More people are still turning up at the centre to find ways of accessing their national IDs before the sim card registration clocks. By the look of things, many are in for a disappointment as they may not beat this deadline.