By Ivan Mwine
President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has revealed that he does not regret shutting down social media app Facebook in Uganda, because that didn’t stop farmers in the country from producing bananas.
Museveni, who shut down Facebook in 2019 towards the January 2020 General Election, revealed this on Wednesday while at Kololo Independence Grounds, where he was welcoming Ugandan athletes that participated in the Olympics games in Tokyo, Japan.
“The other time I shut down these people who were making noise, Facebook. I thought that shutting down Facebook would stop Uganda from producing Bananas,” Museveni said.
He added that; “But I found out that shutting down Facebook did not stop Ugandans from producing Bananas.”
It should be recalled that in December 2019 the government of Uganda ordered all telecom companies and internet service providers to block Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp and other social media apps in the country.
The directive to shut down the application in Uganda came after the government asked the managers of Facebook to pull down all pages and online TV channels being run by National Unity Platform (NUP) supporters but they (Facebook) refused and instead advised the government to go to court.
It is said that following the standoff, some elements said to belong to the National Resistance Movement (NRM) decided to hack into the pages and online TV channels that were being run by NUP supporters on Facebook and deleted many of them.
In retaliation, the managers of Facebook also deleted and or pulled down all pages and other online platfroms that were being run by NRM supporters, a move that prompted President Museveni to direct the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) to switch off internet and shut down Facebook together with all social media Apps operating under the same platforms.
As a result, Ugandans didn’t access internet during and after the elections period but President Museveni later in March directed the UCC to switch the internet back on, although he gave strict orders that Facebook should remain restricted.
But whereas the President is convinced that he shut down Facebook millions of Ugandans are still using the social media App by accessing it via Virtual Private Network.