Uganda election: Internet restored but social media blocked

Posted by BBC | 2 months ago | 1,062 times



Ugandans are celebrating the resumption of internet services after a shutdown was imposed ahead of last week's election.

However, social media platforms remain blocked and are only accessible using Virtual Private Networks (VPN).

President Yoweri Museveni, who won an unprecedented sixth term in office, had accused the platforms of being biased.

Bobi Wine, presidential candidate for the opposition National Unity Platform, alleged the poll was marred by fraud.

The party's spokesperson Joel Ssenyonyi accused Mr Museveni of shutting down the internet to prevent them from sharing evidence of fraud.

He told the BBC's Newsday programme that the party was in the process of collecting election results forms that have evidence of irregularities.

Mr Ssenyonyi told the Reuters news agency that NUP's offices had been raided.

"They don't want work to continue at our offices because they know that we are putting together evidence to show the world how much of a fraudster Museveni is," he said.

President Museveni said on Saturday that the poll could be the "most cheating-free" in the history of the country.

The electoral commission declared Mr Museveni the winner with 59% of the vote, with his closest challenger Bobi Wine, a pop star whose real name is Robert Kyagulanyi, garnering 34%.

Mr Museveni has ruled Uganda since 1986.

 

The communication blackout has led to strong criticism of the Ugandan government from human rights organisations.

In the meantime, security forces continue to surround Bobi Wine's home, with senior officers saying the move was aimed at preventing violence.

There is also a heavy deployment of soldiers and police in the streets of the capital, Kampala, the BBC's Patience Atuhaire reports.

Why was the internet shut down?

Online services were severely restricted on the eve of the 14 January elections after the government ordered telecom companies to block access to social media platforms as a "retaliation".

Mr Museveni had been angered by Facebook's decision to remove accounts linked to the ruling party after its investigations found that they had been involved in a coordinated operation to maliciously target opposition members.

"There is no way anybody can come [here] and play around with our country and decide who is good [and] who is bad," Mr Museveni said, accusing Facebook of "arrogance."


Source: BBC
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