Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Legality of ZICTA SIM registration and deactivation questioned




LUSAKA, Friday, December 06, 2013 – I, Kasebamashila Kaseba, a Lusaka literary and research journalist (media and communication consultant) on 15th November, 2013, wrote an email to Zambia Information and Communication Technology Authority (ZICTA) Director General (posted on 20th November, 2013) in respect of ZICTA SIM registration and deactivation which threaten my right and access to information and communication. ZICTA phoned on Monday, 25th November, 2013 to acknowledge receipt and to promise a written reply which is yet to come. ZICTA has on the other hand continued its countdown to 31st December, 2013. I summarise my 12 grounds below.

Omission of SI 65 of 2011 or Act 15 of 2009

ZICTA Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) registration and deactivation countdown advertisements have omitted to cite and name and publish SI 65 of 2011 or Act 15 of 2009. Registration “Form 1, Regulation 13” have omitted the SI number “65” or “To be completed in triplicate” as well as omitted SIM registration deadline and deactivation penalty.
The website has omitted SI 65 of 2011. ZICTA phone numbers were unanswered or answered by machines.

The Government Printers, before and since Tuesday, 16th October, 2012 to today, has out of print SI 65 for K6. One contact with bound volumes including SI 65 is selling for K300 from K500 in 2011. One newspaper front page countdown advert is about K1,800 equivalent to buying 311 copies. Therefore, I wish to know how ZICTA will enforce a law, with grave and extreme consequences, that is not cited or named or published towards the deadline, especially at the expense of the quality of service.

SI 65 of 4th July, 2011 by former Communications and Transport Minister Geoffrey Lungwangwa promoted by Transport, Works, Supply and Communications Minister Yamfwa D. Mukanga (misdated it for 28th June, 2011) for ZICTA does not have SIM deactivation countdown and deadline. Also refer to the PF Manifesto on “Science and Technology Development” on page 41.

Multiple registration

ZICTA has not acknowledged SIM card registration for a card of K2.50 is equivalent or triple to registration with PACRA, ZRA and NAPSA in contradiction of ease and speed of business or pre-emption of Access to Information bill.

Guarantee of security

ZICTA has not acknowledged repeat registrations of ZAMTEL and TELECEL (MTN) who had SIM registers or double registration with Mobile Money. ZICTA’s guarantee of confidentiality and security has not acknowledged AIRTEL change of ownership thrice, MTN twice, ZAMTEL twice plus loss of SIM card registers.

Sim Cards cannot be doubled licenced

A SIM card is already a register number and a card that is personal to its subscriber (owner) and is already double registered (by serial and network number) to a ZICTA licensed “electronic communication network or service provider” also called Mobile Service Provider (MSP). Therefore, a SIM card cannot be ZICTA double licensed or profiled just as Bank of Zambia (BOZ), Pensions and Insurance Authority (PIA), Law Association of Zambia (LAZ), Energy Regulation Board (ERB), National Water and Sanitation Council (NWASCO) do not license or register personal file cards of clients of individual banks, insurers, lawyers, electricity providers and water suppliers respectively.

ZICTA acting like another MSP

ZICTA should instead of SIM cards registration, license a fourth and more MSPs. SIM registration costs more than establishment of another MSP. However, ZICTA SIM registration and construction of towers, only lacking signal, makes ZICTA another MSP or a competitor, not an authority. It sounds like ERB building power stations and filling stations except supplying the electricity or fuel.

ZICTA security excuse is mandate of Police

ZICTA’s repeated security reason is the mandate of Zambia Police (ZP) whose reports for lost phones and SIM cards is K22.50 the price of nine new SIM cards. ZICTA’s signposting of residential area roads is at the expense of its mandate of subscribers’ personal security and safety of “distress calls” for ambulance and postal actual services. And without word on ZAMTEL poor distribution of fixed lines in the same residential areas.

ZICTA’s false security alert is when Ministry of Home Affairs, the ministry for ZP, is revising NRCs for security reasons and without securing lost NRCs. MSPs, ISPs or dealers or subscribers have not publicly requested ZICTA and ZP for security. Instead, ZICTA has had to criminalise SIM cards or their possession (not their use) in order to harass and intimidate innocent citizens.

ZICTA Ignoring Subscribers

ZICTA has ignored subscribers and expert advice and criticism on the scale of business disturbance and ZICTA’s over expenditure and catalogue of contradictions. SI 65, will usurp other Acts, beyond its parent Act including the constitution’s presidential state of public emergency powers.

Another example, 10.6 million SIM cards for 13 million people is twice more than Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) 5.1 million voter registration cards or a referendum only beaten by Central Statistical Office (CSO) national census. ECZ register of voters from NRCs is only used after verification or cleaning yet ZICTA will close SIM registration with deactivation in seconds or click of button. And worse, deactivation will be during the festive season or industrial break in towns or planting season in rural areas.

Power play by ZICTA

ZICTA as an authority is engaged in a desperate power play with MSPs, ISPs, dealers and subscribers. What logic is SIM card security by deactivation that says hackers and hijackers interrupt SIM cards; therefore ZICTA will secure them from criminals through deactivation. SIM deactivation whether by ZICTA or hackers is criminal and criminalisation of subscribers (owners) and is outside SI 65. Lawlessness secures no one. Act 15 of 2009 provides for both “Appeal” and “Immunity” the latter being subject to “good faith” of “performance” “under the Act”. SI 65 could be read with “The Public Interest Disclosure (Protection of Whistleblowers Act, 04), 2010”.

ZICTA must realise that ICTs in developed nations are generally government funded (not just regulated) with public funds the same being spent on SIM card registration and deactivation. Finally, ZICTA is accountable and answerable to the public or subscribers not vice versa.

By Kasebamashila Kaseba


  1. The write may need to do a good job in ensuring that this article is re-written in an understandable language. Most of the points he is trying to articulate don’t come out properly.

  2. This is all madness resulting from PF ‘s panicky efforts to stifle dissent. They are forgetting that the same draconian laws and institutions they are putting in place will one day be used against them big time. They are doing things as though there is no tomorrow,forgetting that they will be booted out one day.

    Instead of preparing a safe landing to useful when they will fall, they have choosen to prepare a rough one.

    • Lack of appreciation of international agreements, binding or non binding, leads to such conclusions. Check out many other countries that have done it, including South Africa, unless of course you assume PF is governing SA as well.

  3. these rules will catch up with the pf very soon.
    i expect weekend imprisonment for drunks to catch up with edgar lungu as soon as he is out of office.

  4. Other than being difficult to understand, the few points the writer brings out are inaccurate.

    Guarantee of security
    ZICTA has not acknowledged repeat registrations of ZAMTEL and TELECEL (MTN) who had SIM registers or double registration with Mobile Money.

    Zamtel does not have a mobile money service at all. Get your facts right. You are trying to put up an decent argument and I applaund you for that. I would, however, urge you to write from a point of knowledge and not just writing to appear smart. There are a lot of inconsistencies in your article which make no sense.

  5. You call yourself a literary and research journalist, a media and communication consultant, and you write such gibberish for publication?! Don’t make us laugh please, Mr. Kasebamashila Kaseba.

    • His article is not as poor as you would like to make it out, he got most of his points spot on except may be he was too economical on space.
      IS 65 is out of stock at government printers, he must have researched to know that.

  6. Thus how we know MBULI (uneducated) people from EDUCATED ones in zambia, when the topic is technical bloggers have no comment kanofye topics like HH insults SATA oh within 5 minutes of posting the article more than 30 comments, too much iliteracy pa ZED

  7. this article is spot on..he is arguing his point from legal point of view so if you are lacking in that area don’t expect to understand anything

  8. These exercise is another tool by pf to come and rig the 2016 elections.Zambians especially the opposition must wake up and stop this evil way of winning elections.Do say u were not warned.

  9. This sim card registration is for the birds, what of devices that are not in phones? GSM devices etc? You go to the guys doing the registration – who have half a brain shared between them – and they tell you that we cant register those sim cards we are only registering the ones in phones – wtf? How are we supposed to continue to do business?

  10. take it to court and by the time it isdetermined it will be 2016. then you just vote in another government that will scrapp it.

  11. Iwe mdala, where did you do your journalism from? Your writing skills are poor! Ninshi imwe nimwe mwale Pulila pa window abanenu lilya balesambilila? Improve your English mune!

  12. I think he has a valid point as far as double registration is concerned. ZICTA should rely on the registers of the cellphone companies rather than have subscribers registering with both. On the other hand, the manner in which this matter has been handled is what has raised suspicion from subscribers. Otherwise, it is now a global trend for subscribers to register their SIM cards. SIM registration is now a requirement even in a number of developed countries (including UK and USA).

  13. Honestly speaking I have tried to make sense out of this article but to no avail. I would love if the writer took time to make it logical and simpler. maybe ,my mind is shallow but the writer should have avoided jargon and hit the nail on the head. let me read it for the third time and probably glean some more hidden meanings. No malice intended!

  14. Its only in Africa where Sim card are not registered some of use who post on this site knows very well that in countries we are now even our telephone conversations are recoded but when it comes to our African countries everything done buy our African brothers is wrong and we don’t want to help just insult them while boasting that we are educated. Africans mind set is sickening.

    • I totally agree with you. Governments have other means of spying on friends, enemies, citizens, foreigners etc. world over. Look at the USA and the Snowdon’s revelations. The Kenyan government has been blamed for not monitoring the Islamic Somali group that bombed a Kenyan shopping mall. Spying on political enemies is practised world over but the greater good is to avoid incidences like 9/11 and the bombing of a Kenyan shopping mall. Political regimes come and go. Yesterday it was UNIP and MMD. Today it is the PF. Tomorrow, God forbid, it may be the UPND but the memorandum operandus the M.O. on security will remain the same.

  15. I did not need reply but read others until very late. I am grateful for your readerships and replies. Instead of a debate, I read comments, complaints and distractions to the “finger” not what the finger is pointing at, the ZICTA law or SI 65 access and 10.6 million SIM cards.
    The ZICTA topic and context are not mine and not new but a national issue affecting 10 million SIM Cards. Therefore, any commentator or debater just as a press release reader cannot create their own context and call it a reply, at the expense of 10.6 million SIM cards.
    How possible is it to debate someone who confesses struggling with literacy or holds another debater responsible for their failure to understand the motion. Further, failure and refusal to understand are different from disagreeing. Even reading is…

  16. I like kasebamashilas technical intellect. Very difficult for sponsored pf goons to understand. Very interesting I love it. For sure instead of debating them pf goons are busy interjecting this very important observation. Pfools.

    • Who are you ? Instead of making it easier for us to understand, you quickly go to other smaller things,do not bear hatred at all times.

  17. Wimboh, This is for all those who need of help in good faith and belief in reason. So, accusing me of the emotion of hatred in the face facts and to seek my free education at the same time is a contradiction. To reply to engage in a debate and at the same expect me not to read and reply to you even without proper self identity is another contradiction. It is in fact cowardice to verbally assault another person awaiting an answer. Please, dont hold others responsible for your failures. And dont be quick to speak in ignorance. Other replies have actually brought in other perspectives and should help you. Sorry to say it, my brother, if you are a brother, I am not responsible for you. You dont even know me. Unless, you motives are insincere. Why cant you ask ZICTA?

    • You article is badly written, you might have a point but you failed to deliver. next time ask some one to edit for you. before you put in public domain.

  18. this clown had nothing better to do. its not zicta registering sim cards its the MSP’s. it is a condition in the law and licence that existed before PF and will continue after. ZICTA is just helping the MSP’s as if they dont register their clients sim cards they risk losing their licenses to ZICTA. if the MSP’s dont secure client info, they lose their licence, if they activate an unregistered sim, they lose, etc. so ZICTA is just helping. and the towers ZICTA is building? thats PPP. its the MSP’s that will use them to take service to rural areas

  19. People with pen names who open arguments (not debates) with words like clown either don’t want others to read them or to debate them or have burnt out of ideas. Check FAQs, ZICTA campaign is to “curb” (criminalise) “negative”, “nuisance” (bad manners, foul language and insults) such as yours. I am okey with your language. In fact, I have read your full uninformed comment that referred to the law you have not read. Anyhow in the end, let’s see where your support for ZICTA and the law you do not understand will take you. Otherwise, I am there to reason and help people of good faith. Lastly, I am not righteous but I am really so proud not to be a pretender and a liar!

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