Social media networks restored in Uganda…except Facebook
Except for Facebook, Ugandan authorities have announced the restoration of social media networks that were blocked a day before the 14 January 2021 general elections.
While the internet was restored on 18 January after President Yoweri Museveni was declared winner in the disputed polls, social media platforms have remained inaccessible.
Authorities cited security concerns for the shutdown and a move to combat “elements that were a threat to the credibility of the elections.”
Museveni accused social media platforms of being biased and arrogant following Facebook’s decision to remove accounts linked to the ruling party.
This week Uganda’s Minister of State for Information, Communication and Technology Peter Ogwang confirmed that social media services had been fully restored.
He called on Ugandans to be constructive and not destructive consumers of social media services and added: “Internet and social media services have been fully restored. We apologise for the inconvenience caused, but it was for the security of our country.”
Government spokesperson Ofwono Opondo said: “We have released elements of social media-Twitter, WhatsApp and Instagram because we think to a less extent, those are not as dangerous as Facebook. We shall examine going forward their posture on these other social media platforms that have been restored and that will inform how soon Facebook is restored.”
Museveni’s main challenger Bobi Wine is seeking to have Museveni’s victory annulled by the country’s Supreme Court and the shutdown forms part of his case.
Wine argues that the shutdown not only denied Ugandans the right to communication and association, but also crippled his ability to gather and transmit declaration of results forms to his agents across the country.