Language version

Uganda Election

Uganda Cuts Off Internet Ahead Of Elections

Advertisement

Published

on

Uganda’s communications regulator has ordered the shutdown of social media and messaging applications, ahead of Thursday’s high-stakes election.

Leading opposition candidate Bobi Wine on Tuesday urged voters to come out on large numbers to ensure a fair vote, as he claimed security forces raided his home and beat up his staff.

The vote will come after one of the bloodiest campaigns in years, as veteran leader Yoweri Museveni seeks a sixth term against the 38-year-old popstar-turned-MP Bobi Wine, who has managed to fire up a youthful population that has mostly known only one president.

Wine, who has spent most of the campaign in a bulletproof vest and combat helmet facing teargas, bullets and numerous arrests, on Tuesday urged his supporters to “protect” the election from rigging.

Despite Wine’s popularity, few observers believe he can pull off a victory against Museveni, a 76-year-old former rebel leader who has ruled since 1986 and effectively crushed any opposition.

Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter were all down in the East African nation on Tuesday, after the communications social media shutdown order.

Uganda Communications Commission executive director Irene Sewankambo ordered telecommunications companies to “immediately suspend any access and use” of social media and online messaging platforms.

An industry insider who spoke to media on condition of anonymity said that the order was first communicated in “nasty and aggressive” phone calls to the telecommunications companies on Tuesday morning.

The calls made it clear the order was in retaliation after Facebook deleted pro-government accounts for seeking to manipulate public debate ahead of the election. Facebook said on Monday that the accounts were linked to the ministry of information and technology.

However UCC spokesman Ibrahim Bbosa told media; “I am not aware of a directive to switch off internet or social media platforms.”

He blamed any problems on heavy use of internet ahead of the election saying “There has been slow connectivity on the platforms which can be partly due to heavy traffic as a result of the forthcoming elections “.

Some 18 million voters are registered for the presidential and parliamentary ballot, which takes place after a chaotic campaign European Union High Representative Josep Borrell said in a statement calling for a credible vote that “the excessive use of force by law enforcement and security agencies has seriously tarnished this electoral process.”

Wine, whose real name is Robert Kyagulanyi, told journalists his home had been raided and his staff beaten by security forces on Tuesday morning.

He said the ruling party was trying to scare voters away from the ballot box and urged them to record any abuses or irregularities on polling day.

“We are telling you, you will not be breaking the law when you stay and protect your vote. We encourage you to use your phones, use your cameras. Your phone is a very powerful weapon, that camera is very powerful, use it.”

Museveni faces a divided opposition in this election, with 10 candidates battling him.

Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

East-Africa

Ugandan Court Lifts Opposition Leader Bobi Wine’s House Arrest

Published

on

By

A Ugandan court has ordered security forces to cease surrounding the home of opposition leader Bobi Wine, whose house arrest since a mid-month presidential election has drawn international pressure, his lawyer said on Monday.

Troops have blocked the 38-year-old pop star-turned-politician from leaving his house in a suburb of the capital Kampala since he voted in the Jan. 14 election where he ran against long-serving incumbent President Yoweri Museveni.

“The judge ordered that the state and its agencies should immediately vacate his property and his right to personal liberty should immediately be reinstated,” lawyer George Musisi told Reuters.

Museveni, 76, who has been in power since 1986, was declared winner of the poll with 59% of votes versus 35% for Wine, who had for years denounced corruption and nepotism in his songs.

He rejected the result, alleging fraud which the government denies.

Musisi said the judge also ruled that if there were any serious allegations against Wine, he should be brought before a court or police.

Police spokesman Patrick Onyango said he had no immediate comment as the ruling had not been received.

There was no immediate reaction from the government or confirmation from the court.

U.S. ambassador Natalie E. Brown had tried to visit Wine at his home, drawing an accusation of meddling and subversion from the Ugandan government.

Reuters

Continue Reading

Uganda Election

Uganda To Restore Social-media Sites On ‘Case-by-Case Basis’

Published

on

The Uganda government insisted, it will maintain a tight grip on social-media sites as it attempts to deal with the post election security situation.

Kampala authorities said they were still analyzing the situation and sites will be restored on “a case-by-case basis,” according to Information, Communication and Technology and National Guidance Minister of State Peter Ogwang.

The Internet cables in Uganda were plugged out just hours before the election day. Uganda closed social-media sites and blocked access to the internet on the eve of presidential elections on January 14.

Access to the internet was restored on January 18.

The government said it will maintain its shutdown of Facebook, Twitter and other social-media platforms until the government deems they’re safe from being used to inflame tensions, reported state owned New Vision newspaper.

Meanwhile, the opposition which lost to incumbent President Yoweri Museveni, have also swept the parliamentary seats for constituencies within the central region including the Mayor of the Capital Kampala.

However, for former presidential candidate in the just concluded presidential elections, Gen Henry Tumukunde, says the option of going to court to challenge the victory of NRM presidential candidate Museveni is still on the table.

Across opposition strongholds in Kampala, the reaction to President Museveni’s contested re-election has been muted, with his rival’s supporters too fearful — or dispirited — to take to the streets.

Analysts say, this could be the reason why government will maintain a grip on the internet until the anger in the opposition camp is over. The military is largely present and in-charge of security within the capital city which is also the main opposition stronghold.

Continue Reading

Uganda Election

Singer Jose Chameleon Competing For Kampala Mayor Seat

Published

on

Uganda’s dancehall artiste Jose Chameleon aka Mayanja Joseph has this morning cast his vote in a tight race for the Kampala city Mayor seat. He is running as an Independent candidate without any affiliation to a political party.

“I have a big chance of winning this. At first, they disrespected artistes who joined politics but our music has done a good job. Get my songs and remove the beats and read the message you will realise we write with a purpose. We see different things happening to people. Unless they rig these elections, but people are ready and willing to vote for Mayanja because they have studied me and found out that I’m the right person. I can’t sing all these songs and still have a coconut head,” said Chameleone.

At around 9AM, the singer finished casting his vote at Mutungo Biina, Kaduuka polling station. He said he was confident that he will emerge successful at the end of the day.

Uganda is currently holding elections for the Lord Mayor, directly elected councillors and women councillors for Kampala Capital City Authority and the ten cities across the country.

Reports indicate that at all the polling stations, the turn out is still so low and some people place the blame on the dissatisfaction that came from the Presidential and parliamentary elections.

Incumbent Kampala city Lord Mayor, Erias Lukwago has attributed the low voter turnout in the district elections to what he believes were irregularities in the Presidential election that led to NUP’s Robert Kyagulanyi being locked up in his own home.

Another artist Daniel Kazibwe populary known by his stage name Ragga Dee is contending for the Mayoral seat on the National Resistance Movement (NRM) ticket. He cast his vote at Kizungu meeting point polling station in Makindye 1.

Continue Reading

Trending