President Yoweri Museveni made a strong case for his insistence on using a feature phone rather than a smartphone after he was publicly accused by the Permanent Secretary Ministry of ICT, of “slowing down” Uganda’s digitalization progress.
Pulling out his little feature phone, better known as “mapeesa” and brandishing it to the crowd at Kololo, Museveni stressed that his kind of work would not allow him to own and operate a smartphone because it is “too distracting”
“I have heard about smartphones; I have seen them at a distance, but in my work, I need to do more thinking than tinkering with data and so on and so forth,” stressed the president.
“We in the army, we don’t allow a general to drive a car… because when he is driving his mind goes from the big issues to the road. He is now focusing on the small rather than the big.”
President Museveni was speaking as chief guest at the 2nd Annual National ICT Job Fair 2023 at Kololo Ceremonial Grounds.
Earlier during the event, the ICT Ministry Permanent Secretary, Aminah Zawedde made a dig at the president, accusing him of sticking to outdated technology for his communications.
“Your Excellency, you should also get a smartphone,” said the PS as the audience burst into laughter.
“… because it is an essential tool for exploiting the broadband opportunity in all aspects of personal and national economic development.”
“Using a feature phone or a basic phone that our young people call “ka-torch” in a broadband environment is like riding a bicycle on an expressway. When you do so, you make progress but you will slow down other users on this road,” she said.
Museveni however, said in response that he sees no benefit in spending time on a smartphone. He also advised other senior government officials if possible, to stay away from such modern gadgets.
“My job is to think seriously about where to go and the less destruction I have the better. Now, this ka-touch of mine, I only get it out when I want to ring somebody,” he said.
“It is not that I am against smartphones, but even you as managers, when you are doing your own work, I think it is better to have fewer distractions so that you can think and inquire more.”
President Museveni also introduced to the public, his own social media expert, Ms. Precious Kamwiine, whom he said is his go-to whenever he wants to know what is trending online.
“If I want to know what is happening on the smartphones, I use Precious Kamwiine and her team,” he said, before inviting the young lady to the podium.
Ms Kamwine is the President’s President’s Private Secretary in Charge of ICT, a position she has held since 2015.