Uganda ‘shuts down’ social media ahead of election

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Uganda ‘shut down’ social media ahead of election
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Ugandan officials ordered internet service providers to shut down social media and messaging applications on Tuesday.

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 front runner 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.

Both Reuters and AFP cited sources saying the government made it clear that the ban was in retaliation for Facebook’s decision to delete some government-linked accounts.

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.

What platforms have been affected?

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.

Violence ahead of election

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.

Longtime leader Yoweri Museveni (L) and popstar turned candidate Bobi Wine (R)

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.

SOURCE: AFT/Reuters

About Post Author

Ellis Ferdinand

Ellis Ferdinand is the Founder of Education Ghana Media Network ,a parent Company of EducationGhana.net ,an Online Education News Blog and Education Television, an Online Digital Television Channel. Ellis Ferdinand is a Graduate of Accra College of Education and the University of Cape Coast respectively, where he obtained a Diploma In Basic Education and a Bachelor of Education in Accounting. Awards Ellis Ferdinand won Blogger of the Year at the 2018 National Students’ Awards and was also adjudged 14th Best Ghanain Blogger in 2018 among Top 50 Ghanaian Bloggers of 2018. He introduced the Concept of Education Blogging in Ghana in 2014 with his famous blog EducationGhana.net. His Blog won Best Media Promoting Education in 2017, 2018 and 2019 respectively, an Award organized by Neogenics Education Consult. In 2019, He was adjudged the Most Promising West African Blogger of the Year in Nigeria.
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