Uganda’s telecommunication regulator, the Uganda Communications Commission has ordered the shutdown of social media ahead of Thursday’s crucial election.
In a letter to the telecommunication companies, the Communications Commission executive director Irene Sewankambo ordered the telcos to “immediately suspend any access and use” of social media and online messaging platforms.
#BREAKING/2 : In a letter seen by AFP, Uganda Communications Commission executive director Irene Sewankambo ordered telecommunications companies to “immediately suspend any access and use” of social media and online messaging platforms. @AFP
— AFP Africa (@AFPAfrica) January 12, 2021
Access to Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter has already been disrupted in Uganda on Tuesday.
On Thursday voters will be choosing a new president with musician-turned politician, Bobi Wine, 38, now the main challenger to 76-year-old President Yoweri Museveni.
Museveni has ruled Uganda since 1986 and is seeking re-election after constitutional changes allowed him to seek a sixth consecutive term.
There have been major clampdown on opposition politicians ahead of the crucial vote amid the enforcement of Covid-19 protocols.
Journalists have also been attacked for covering campaigns of opposition politicians, with the police chief in Uganda, justifying such attacks.
Bobi Wine is now encouraging citizens to come out in their numbers to vote on Thursday.
Wine, whose real name is Robert Kyagulanyi, said the ruling party was trying to scare voters away.
“We encourage all voters to stay and guard the vote,” he told reporters in Kampala, flanked by two other opposition candidates.
“We are telling you, you will not be breaking the law when you stay and protect your vote. We encourage you to use your phones, use your cameras. Your phone is a very powerful weapon, that camera is very powerful, use it.”