Monday, June 24, 2024

Benin election: Internet shutdown on voting day

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Isaac Kaledzi
Isaac Kaledzi
Isaac Kaledzi is an experienced and award winning journalist from Ghana. He has worked for several media brands both in Ghana and on the International scene. Isaac Kaledzi is currently serving as an African Correspondent for DW.

All social media sites including Facebook, Twitter and other messaging apps like WhatsApp have been blocked in Benin.

On Sunday many users of these digital platforms were unable to access them.

Voters are choosing new leaders in a legislative election on Sunday. The election is taking place without a single opposition candidate on the ballots.

The country’s electoral commission blocked all opposition parties from contesting.

The electoral commission said it disqualified five opposition parties from contesting Sunday’s poll due to a technicality.

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With no opposition party candidates on the ballot, there are fears the country’s governance system could be weakened.

Not having an opposition party in parliament would mean no major restrictions or scrutiny of government policies.

Internet shutdown

An agency that tracks shutdowns and disruption of the internet globally, Netblocks published details of the current shutdown.

There are reports of the country’s main internet service provider, Spacetel also getting shutdown.

A media advocacy group, Media Foundation for West Africa has condemned the development.

In a statement the group called “on the gov’t to ensure citizens have access to these messaging apps”.

Only two parties are partaking in Sunday’s election but they are all allies or loyal to President Patrice Talon.

President Patrice Talon  has been in power since 2016. In 2017 he failed in his attempt to reform his country’s constitution.

President of Benin, Patrice Talon.

Talon wanted to reduce the current two five-year presidential term to just one six-year term since the current term limit encourages “complacency”.




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