The proposal by Kampala Central Member of Parliament Muhammad Nsereko to allegedly curb cyber bullying and computer misuse is facing significant opposition from across the general public, including scholars, politicians and social media fans.
Last week Feb. 9, the independent NRM-leaning legislator presented his proposal on the floor of Parliament to seek leave of Parliament to introduce a Private Members Bill he said is meant to curb cyber bullying, harassment and computer misuse.
Nsereko said: “If we are to protect society and stop fights emanating from anger and retribution, we as legislators must come up with a law that protects society from slander and malice but also protect the freedom of speech.”
He added: “I am of the school that agrees with freedom of speech but not freedom of abuse, harassment, blackmail malice and propaganda.”
But the motion has been met with intense criticism that it may surfer still birth. Some of his critics accuse Nsereko of using the law to hit back at his political opponents.
Maverick and outspoken lawyer Isaac Ssemakadde of the Legal Brains Trust, accused Nsereko of abusing the very spaces he has used many times to express himself.
Ssemakadde said: “Hon. Nsereko is a violent man. In 2012, he beat up a Police officer – Godfrey Musobya. In 2016, he beat up a New Vision journalist – Farouk Kasule. Online, Hon. Nsereko is one of the most visible and loud persons on Facebook. Before the Bobi cult wave emerged, he used to go against President Museveni, Besigye and we loved him, we trusted him. Why is he distrusting the mechanics of democracy.”
Hon. Nsereko we want our right to call you a fool, a dimwit, stupid man who doesn’t deserve our vote. That is our constitutional right. You don’t have the right to use parliamentary space to support and protect a dictatorship.”
Joseph Kabuleta, a former Presidential contender in the 2021 elections, also accused Nsereko of hypocrisy. Without mentioning his name, Kabuleta appeared to attack Nsereko when he said: “A man who indulges in the boisterous world of social media messaging but seeks to legislate against ‘abuse’ is no different from one who walks into a discotheque and complains about loud music and wants to pass a law to control noise in discos. That is the definition of narcissism.
Other observers have criticized the timing of Nsereko’s bill saying that he may be under the influence of government to use the recent events involving novelist Kakwenza Rukirabashaijja and Francis Zaake to suppress freedom of speech and of expression.
Kakwenza, who is now in self-imposed exile, has been charged with using social media platforms to abuse President Yoweri Museveni and his son Muhoozi Kainerugaba.
Also, this week, NRM MPs introduced a motion to remove National Unity Platform’s Francis Zaake from the influential position of Commissioner of Parliament because he allegedly abused the Deputy Speaker of Parliament.
Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) Spokesperson Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda, used a political twist to the Nsereko drama when he said that the Kampala Central legislator is playing the NRM game by introducing the law to curb social media.
Nganda said that Nsereko has been hood wicking the public that he’s independent minded yet he clandestinely works with NRM against opposition candidates.
“He’s been holding out that he’s fighting Museveni for a very long time. You can’t fight Museveni when you quietly get money from him.”
Nganda said they have been holding on to expose Nsereko out of modesty. From now on, he warned, Nsereko is going to be exposed.