Museveni Shuts Social Media Ahead of Presidential Elections

National Resistance Movement NRM flagbearer, Yoweri Museveni.

President Yoweri Museveni, has shut social media channels in Uganda two days to presidential elections.

Museveni, who was addressing the country on Tuesday evening, said it was inappropriate for Facebook owners to switch off pro-government pages because they have no right to decided who is right or wrong.

For that reason, Museveni said he ordered for closure of social media platforms and commiserated with those who have largely been depending on social media. By Tuesday evening, Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter had been shut in Uganda.

Kezia Anim –Addo, Facebook’s head of communication for Sub-Saharan Africa, explained that Ugandan government officials were seeking to manipulate public debate ahead of elections.

“This month, we removed a network of accounts and pages in Uganda that engage in CID [Coordinated Inauthentic Behaviour] to target public debate ahead of the election,” Kezia was quoted by AFP.

Kezia was added that government officials 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.

Kezia said: “Given the impending election in Uganda, we moved quickly to investigate and take down this network.”

Museveni, who has been in power for 35 years had already deployed military and police personnel allover major towns. Museveni faces 11 candidates even though National Unity Platform –NUP presidential candidate Robert Ssentamu Kyagulanyi alias Bobi Wine is perceived as the major challengers.

The campaign period has been chaotic whereby Kyagulanyi and Forum for Democratic Change –FDC candidate, Patrick Oboi Amuriat, have been arrested, charged and their supporters killed.

Soldiers and policemen killed 54 people in November last year when Ugandans staged a demonstration after Kyagulanyi was arrested at his campaign rally in Luuka district in Eastern Uganda.