Africa World

Wed 13 January 2021:

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni banned Facebook and other social media platforms Tuesday as the country prepares to hold presidential elections this week. 

Addressing the nation in Kampala, Museveni accused Facebook of being arrogant.

A few days ago, Facebook closed the accounts of two Museveni supporters locally known as Bajjo and Full Figure over what it called misuses of their accounts.

Due to the closures, the government is punishing Facebook by closing it in the country, Museveni said earlier.

The closing of his supporters’ accounts did not go well with Museveni, especially after Uganda failed in its efforts a few weeks ago to make Facebook close some accounts that the state deemed dangerous to the county’s security.

The move comes two days ahead of the country’s presidential election which will see one of Africa’s longest-serving leaders, Yoweri Museveni, against opposition frontrunner and popular singer Bobi Wine. 


What happened?

Uganda’s communications regulator (UCC) ordered the country’s internet service providers to block all social media platforms until further notice, according to a letter seen by news agencies AFP and Reuters.

The letter told telecommunications firms to “immediately suspend any access and use” of the apps and sites.

Facebook said it removed the accounts for seeking to manipulate public debate ahead of the election, adding that they were tied to the Ministry for Information and Technology.

Users in the East African country said on Tuesday that they were unable to access WhatsApp and Facebook and Twitter.Social media and messaging services have been key tools used by all parties to campaign in Uganda.

Some 18 million Ugandans are registered to vote on Thursday in presidential and parliamentary elections.

Scores of people were killed in violence ahead of the election and crackdowns on opposition rallies.

While election monitors have been prosecuted, government critics have been jailed and journalists reporting on opposition rallies have been attacked.

Museveni, a 76-year-old former guerrilla leader who seized power in 1986, is looking to secure a sixth term. Critics say the veteran leader has abused his position to silence the opposition.

Wine is the frontrunner among 10 opposition candidates challenging Museveni.

Wine, whose real name is Robert Kyagulanyi, has gained a large following among young people in Uganda, where 80% of the population is under 30.

Earlier on Tuesday, Wine said soldiers raided his home and arrested his security guards while he was doing a live radio interview.

Uganda’s military and police force have not yet commented on Wine’s claims.




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