Museveni Shuts Down Social Media Ahead of Election Day
By: Sumaya Hussein (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Thumbnail photo courtesy of pmldaily
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has shut down social media two days before the country heads to the polls.
Museveni has accused Facebook and unnamed outside groups of “arrogance” after it removed Ugandan accounts linked to his re-election campaign.
“That social channel you are talking about, if it is going to operate in Uganda, it should be used equitably by everybody who wants to use it,” said President Museveni, during a National address on Tuesday.
He added that he was “sure the government has closed social media” and apologized to Ugandans for what he called an inconvenience.
Earlier, Uganda’s communications regulator has ordered internet services providers to shut down social media and messaging services. Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) Executive Director, Irene Sewankambo, ordered telecommunications companies to “immediately suspend any access and use” of social media and online messaging platforms. The list of banned social media sites include Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp and Viber.
This came as Bobi Wine, Museveni’s challenger, said police had raided his home and beat two security guards.
Bobi Wine, a popular singer and politician whose real name is Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, said the raid on his compound happened while he was doing an interview with Kenya’s Hot 96 FM radio station.
“I have to end the interview because I can see soldiers beating my security guards,” he said.
Patrick Onyango, police spokesman for the capital Kampala, denied Bobi Wine’s home had been raided or that anyone was arrested. “We were just rearranging our security posture in the area near his home, specifically removing some checkpoints,” said Onyango.
At 38, Bobi Wine who is half the age of Museveni has attracted a large following among young people in the nation who make up 80% of the population.
He is consideredto be the frontrunner among 10 candidates challenging the former rebel leader who seized power in 1986.
Bobi Wine and other leading opposition candidates said they had launched a concerted effort to protect against vote rigging at polling stations.
They are urging protestors to stay within 100 metres of polling stations rather than return home as the electoral commission is demanding. This is likely to lead to confrontations with security forces.