Ugandan government on Tuesday ordered internet service providers to shut down social media and messaging applications just two days ahead of the country’s presidential election, reported Africa News.
In a letter, Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) Executive Director Irene Sewankambo ordered telecommunications companies to suspend any access and use of social media and online messaging platforms with immediate effect. The list of banned social media sites includes WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, Signal, and Viber.
The Ugandan’s government decision to ban social media companies comes as retaliation after Facebook deleted pro-government accounts for seeking to manipulate public debate before Thursday’s key polls.
Facebook claimed that it removed the accounts for seeking to manipulate public debate ahead of the election in Uganda. The social media giant clarified that the accounts were tied to the Ministry for Information and Technology.
“These platforms should be used equitably, if you want to take any parts, then you can’t operate in Uganda, because Uganda is our country, we can’t accept them to decide who is good and who is bad,” Ugandan President Yoweri K Museveni said following the decision to ban to social media apps.
The president said that if social media channels or messaging apps are to operate here, they have to be equitable.
Museveni is facing a contest against the opposition frontrunner and popular singer Bobi Wine.
Meanwhile, on Tuesday, the East African Community Election Observer Mission (EAC-EOM) delegation called for free and fair general elections in Uganda. The observer mission has dispatched a team of 74 observers to different parts of the country.
Domitien Ndayizeye, former president of Burundi and head of the EAC-EOM, said that the delegation will observe the elections to ensure that the election conforms to regional and continental protocols that require partner states to adhere to the universally accepted principles of good governance, human rights, and social justice.