05 Feb Social media remains shut down in Uganda 22 days after General Election
05 Feb 2021
President Yoweri Museveni’s government ordered the internet to be shut down for fear it would be used by ‘warmongers’ to spread violence during the poll.
On January 17, three days after the election day, internet services were restored but social media remained shut down
Ploy to rig Opposition leader Bobi Wine who lost to Museveni in the January 14 poll alleged the move to switch off social media was deliberately executed by the government to enable the incumbent president to rig the elections without disruption.
On his Twitter handle on Thursday, February 4, Wine wondered why the government was still shutting down the online media 22 days after the General Election.
The 38-year-old politician accused Museveni of violating and abusing the rights of Ugandans by denying them access to information and other crucial services and privileges available on social media.
According to him, the National Resistance Movement (NRM) leader was still afraid of the revolution that could sweep Uganda should he allow citizens to use social media.
“22 days since social media was switched off in Uganda. We must end authoritarian rule. Gen. Museveni treats our country like his personal estate! He doesn’t like an NGO? Shuts it down. Unhappy with a media house? Revokes license. Feels threatened by social media? Switches it off!” he tweeted.
A section of Ugandans have been using the Virtual Private Network (VPN) to access online services. The government has, however, issued a warning that whoever would be found using the VPN would be arrested and detained. “Ironically, government departments, including the police and the military are on social media trying to communicate to citizens, who they have threatened to arrest for using VPNs to access social media!
They lack shame; they lack direction- they’re tired,” added Wine. Presidential petition On Monday, February 1, Wine who contested for president on National Unity PLatform (NUP) filed a petition before the Supreme Court challenging the re-election of Museveni.
The youthful leader cited 26 grounds for nullification of Museveni’s victory; key among them was the move to shut down the internet, 100% voter turn out in some of Museveni’s strongholds and arrest and intimidation of his agents during the polling and counting of votes.
The petition and Wine’s insistence that he won the election, have left the country in a state of confusion and political tension 22 days after the poll