By Mable Nakibuuka
The United States of America is up in arms with President Yoweri Museveni after his government ordered the blocking of social media platforms Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter and others from operating in Uganda.
Ugandans woke up to shock on Tuesday after learning that social media had been switched off just two days to the general election slated for January 14th.
However, several civil rights activists both in Uganda and other part of the country have condemned the move as a government ploy to keep Ugandans in darkness during this critical moment when they are set to choose their next president and other leaders.
It should be noted that the government of Uganda decided to switch off Facebook and WhatsApp after the operators of the social media apps refused to delete/pull down pages regarded as being run by supporters of National Unity Platform (NUP) presidential candidate Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu aka Bobi Wine.
Addressing the nation in Kampala, Museveni accused Facebook of being arrogant.
A few days ago, Facebook closed the accounts of two Museveni supporters locally known as Ashburg Kato, Bajjo, Full Figure and others over what it called engaging in Coordinated inauthentic behavior.
Due to the closures, the government is punishing Facebook by closing it in the country, Museveni said earlier.
The closing of his supporters’ accounts did not go well with Museveni, especially after Uganda failed in its efforts a few weeks ago to make Facebook close some accounts that the state deemed dangerous to the county’s security.
He criticized Facebook for being against the government to the extent of closing some of its accounts and said Facebook has no right to say who is good and who is bad in Uganda
“Facebook decided to block NRM message centers,” Museveni said in his speech.
“Why would anyone do that? I told my people to close it. If it is to operate in Uganda, it should be used equitably.”
He said that closing Facebook and other social media platforms is unfortunate but unavoidable. He however apologized to Ugandans who are affected by the closures.
It should however be recalled that social media was also closed down by government when the country went to the polls in 2016, to the disappointment of thousands of users.