Ahead of its January 14 presidential poll, The Ugandan government has ordered that social networking apps be shut down in the East Africa country.
Ekohotblog gathered that authorities in the country have directed telecommunications companies to “immediately suspend any access and use” of social media and online messaging platforms.
Citing a letter from Irene Sewankambo, executive director of Uganda Communications Commission (UCC), Reuters listed the banned social media sites as Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, Signal and Viber.
“Uganda Communications Commission hereby directs you to immediately suspend any access and use, direct or otherwise, of all social media platforms and online messaging applications over your network until further notice,” the letter read.
But Ibrahim Bbosa, UCC spokesman, said he was not aware of directive clamping down on social media platforms.
The move is believed to be in retaliation to the permanent suspension of government officials’ accounts on Facebook.
Don Wanyama, senior press secretary to Uganda President Yoweri Museveni is among those whose Facebook and Instagram accounts were deleted.
In an email, Kezia Anim-Addo, Facebook’s head of communication for sub-Saharan Africa, had said a network of account linked to the government’s ministry of information and communications technology was deleted over coordinated inauthentic behaviour.
“This month, we removed a network of accounts and pages in Uganda that engaged in CIB (Coordinated Inauthentic Behaviour) to target public debate ahead of the election,” he said.
“They used fake and duplicate accounts to manage pages, comment on other people’s content, impersonate users, re-share posts in groups to make them appear more popular that they were.
“Given the impending election in Uganda, we moved quickly to investigate and take down this network.”
The election in the East African nation will be between 76-year-old Museveni and 38-year-old Bobi Wine, a popstar who turned politician