Page last updated at 15:23 GMT, Thursday, 5 March 2009

Row over phone-tapping in Uganda

mobile phone keys
People are worried about an invasion into their privacy

Opposition MPs in Uganda have condemned a bill to legalise phone-tapping by security agents.

They say they fear it will be used by the government for political reasons.

"This bill can be misused to destroy individuals who unfortunately are on the opposition side," MP John Drazu Arumadri told the BBC.

But ruling party MP Winifred Masiko said it was better to regulate the practice, as phone calls were already listened to illegally by officials.

"I don't have any problem with that bill. First of all our phones are tapped so there is no need why we should bury our heads in the sand," she told the BBC's Network Africa programme.

"Let it be regulated so we know who is to be tapped and for what purpose rather than having it a blanket thing that has been taking place."

The BBC's Joshua Mmali, said many people in the capital, Kampala, were concerned about invasion of privacy.

"Suppose I'm discussing something private with a boyfriend?" one woman said.

A banker said he said he did not want business deals being overhead.

"I'm 100% against the phone-tapping bill," he said.

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