Ten Days Later, Uganda Still Holds Ban on Social Media

By Innocent Vuga

A deliberate ban on social media by Ugandan authorities goes to ten days today, without a comprehensive explanation for this continued denial of access to information.

Uganda authorities, without any given reason, closed social-media sites and blocked access to the internet on the eve of presidential elections on January 14.

Although access to the internet was restored on January 18, social media access still remains a challenge, with some Ugandans using Virtual Private Networks (VPN) to access the sites.

Social media taxpayers drop to 6 million
Ugandans are now using VPN to access social media (Photo: Nicholas Bamulanzeki)

Uganda will maintain its shutdown of Facebook, Twitter and other social-media platforms until the government deems them safe from being used to inflame political tensions around the country.

The minister of State of Communication, Technology and National Guidance, Peter Ogwang said the government is analysing the situation and sites will be restored on “a case-by-case basis,”

This was seen as a move aimed at interrupting Uganda’s fastest growing opposition political party, National Unity Platform (NUP) from its boisterous campaigns and other communications that animated Uganda’s social media spaces.

“Bobi Wine and the group used every advantage that came with social media. This target on social media is meant to slow down the opposition’s activities like gathering election rigging evidence,” senior political analyst, Mutahi Nguyi said.

Throughout his campaigns, the NUP presidential candidate, Hon. Robert Ssentamu Kyagulanyi alias Bobi Wine, at every campaign destination went live on Facebook, introduced an App ‘U-Vote’ that would be used by his electorate to send him election results and also ran social media drives for fundraising.

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