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.
Ugandan Court Lifts Opposition Leader Bobi Wine’s House Arrest
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.
Singer Jose Chameleon Competing For Kampala Mayor Seat
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.
Uganda Switched Back Online
On Monday afternoon, Ugandans gradually started getting back online after the government switched on the Internet although, no announcement was made to officially lift the ban.
Leading media houses in Uganda became active again after days of internet blackout.
Their social media accounts are providing updates of election events from the time internet was cut off until ban was lifted today (Monday January 18).
Daily Monitor a leading critical media house in Uganda reported that Fintechs in the country were losing a total of shs 666 billion daily owing to Internet shutdown by government.
“More than 300 million transactions, which are estimated to be worth Shs 666 billion, are conducted through Fintechs system on a daily basis,” the Daily monitor asserted.
More details are being churned out about the Uganda Elections on January 14th.
For example, Members of Parliament aligned to the ruling party (National Resistance Movement) have miserably lost the polls to the opposition National Unity Platform headed by Robert Kyagulanyi making it so far the largest opposition party.
“We didn’t set out in this journey to become the biggest Opposition party in Uganda, we set out to see a change of leadership in Uganda, that goal hasn’t been achieved yet,” said Joel Ssenyonyi the NUP Spokesperson and Nakawa West MP Elect.
Ssenyonyi has been the face of the NUP during the rough campaign process. He at some point was beaten and his trousers torn and left limping on clutches.
The government Chief Whip Ruth Nankabirwa will also not be part of parliament in the next term after she was beaten at the polls by NUP’s Christine Kaaya in the race for Kiboga Woman MP.
A state aided publication, The New Vision reported via its online platforms on Monday afternoon that, “curtains came down on the hotly contested parliamentary election on Friday, bringing with them a considerable number of new faces that ﬂoored incumbents, who include ministers.”
On Monday, a Joint Military and Police team updated the media on the security system while on the other side, Police raided the opposition offices.
According to NUP President Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine, “heavily armed security personnel have this afternoon raided the party offices in Kamwokya, Kampala. Kyagulanyi adds that no one is for now allowed to enter or even come out.”
The opposition accuses the Electoral commission of presiding over and aiding massive fraud of the election.
For example in the results provided, the Electoral Commission excluded results from over 1,200 polling stations according to Daily Monitor publication tweet on Monday afternoon.
The United States whose Kampala embassy team was denied participation in Election observation, has demanded for an audit of the election results, “Voting and result tallying happened in largely Information black-hole after the state shut down the internet.”
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