SHOCKING: Government Spends UGX73b In Surveillance And Digital Tracking- AFIC Report Reveals

Charity Komujjurizi the AFIC Monitoring and Evaluation Coordinator

Charity Komujjurizi the AFIC Monitoring and Evaluation Coordinator PHOTO/PATRICK JARAMOGI

By Our Reporter

KAMPALA, Uganda [SHIFTMEDIA] Though the world is in its fourth Industrial Revolution coupled with blockchain Technologies, Three-Dimensional Printing, 5GMobile Broadband, Cloud Computing, Artificial Intelligence and Data Analytics, Uganda is yet to get there.

A new study on Government Procurement and Deployment of Digital Technology Systems (DTSs) conducted by the Africa Freedom of Information Center  (AFIC) has indicated that Uganda’s adaption to DTSs is still low.

But rather shocking is the fact that much as a total of UGX3.3 trillion has been spent on purchase of Digital Technology Systems in the past six years, only UGX197 billion has been disclosed.

In contracts relating the procurement of ICTs,  73 Billion was for Surveillance and Digital tracking


While announcing the result findings at Protea Hotel on Friday, Charity Komujjurizi the AFIC Monitoring Evaluation Coordinator noted that the study focused mainly on Biometric/Identity, Artificial Intelligence, and Facial Recognition Technologies

‘Uganda’s adoption of DTSs is still low, but with evidence of growth since FY 2015/2016 FY,’ said Komujjurizi.


The study thought to uncover the following

  • What digital technologies are being procured in Uganda
  • For what purposes are DTSs being procured
  • How are DTSs being procured? (Disclosure, bidder participation/inclusion, efficiency)
  • Which laws relate to the procurement and use of digital technologies?
  • What safeguards to privacy, security, inclusion and individual control are in considered in the procurement and deployment of DTSs?
  • What are citizens’ perceptions about procurement and deployment of DTSs?

Study findings

Komujjurizi who read the AFIC Executive Director Gilbert Sendugwa’s speech told the participants drawn from Ministry of ICT, Electoral Commission, PPDA, NITA-U that most types of Digital Technology Systems purchased by government of Uganda included mainly: Biometric machinesm, CCTV cameras, Access Control Systems (ACSs), Facial Recognition Systems.


Others purchased were: Spying malware-FinFisher, Application Program Interface (API)  = initially used to obtain COVID19 related information/data, Media Monitoring Systems/digital logger surveillance equipment, Central Communications Monitoring Centre, DNA equipment, Biometric Voter Verification Kit, as well as Phone monitoring systems.

Purpose of procurement

  • Human resource management
  • Surveillance, safety and security
  • Traffic management and control
  • Election management/monitoring
  • Information and data management       
  • Financial management
  • Research and data analysis
  • Management of procurement
  • E-governance
  • Citizen identification management
  • Health monitoring and management

Key Findings in the Study

The study observed that though the Digital technologies of various types are procured to serve various purposes in respect to the service delivery mandates of different MDAS, citizen’s, especially those in the informal sectors are inadequately aware of the procurement of DTSs and the processes involved because they are classified as highly confidential.

Charity Komujjurizi noted that there are no specific laws and policies that relate to the procurement and use of DTSs, while similarly, media reports noted that the misuse of DTS, was high with security agencies being the major culprits of abuse and misuse of DTS mainly targeting opposition politicians, journalists, activists and human rights defenders.

Sanctions for data misuse

The study observed that sanctions for data misuse are embedded in various laws and policies, but are rarely invoked. Those interviewed noted that there is a need for stakeholder engagement, research and capacity building to reduce abuse of citizens’ data was noted.


  • Government should develop laws to guide the procurement and use of DTSs.
  • Government should ensure more openness in DTSs budgeting and procurement as much of this information is not easily accessible by the public.
  • Governments should create awareness to inform the public about the need and benefits of DTSs investment as well as the existing laws to help citizens be aware of their rights to privacy.
  • More effort to expand public participation in the procurement of DTSs



Shift Media News

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