Weekend Rants: #UgandaDecides – Why did the government block social media access?

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Hello there, the weekend is upon us once again. Today, we look at why the government of Uganda should block all access to social media sites during elections. Read and share your contributions as usual.

Yesterday, a Mobilista based in Uganda, Segujer John, buzzed me on Hangouts. He was lamenting that government has blocked all access to major social media sites – Facebook & Twitter. I was surprised, and had to ask why? Like a flash, it occurred to me that Uganda was preparing for their elections.

uganda-decides

Come think of it, Is this enough reason to block the people’s rights to communication? Will this restriction even make any difference? I proceeded to Google the story, lo and behold! BBC and many other news handles were carrying the news. Delving deeper, I learnt that the UCC (Ugandan Communications Commission) is probably responsible for doing this.

Ugandans continue to queue to cast their votes at sunset in the capital Kampala, Uganda Thursday, Feb. 18, 2016. Amid tardy delivery of voting materials, Ugandans tried to cast ballots Thursday in presidential and parliamentary elections, while a top international election observer called the delays "worrying" and the main opposition party said they were deliberate. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
Ugandans continue to queue to cast their votes at sunset in the capital Kampala, Uganda Thursday, Feb. 18, 2016.(AP Photo/Ben Curtis)

The major mobile ISPs reportedly affected by the restrictions are MTN, Airtel, Smile, Africell and Vodafone. Interim President Yoweri Museveni, 71, is said to have ruled for 30- years and (in his words), the move is to stop people from “telling lies”. Seriously? Like this could really stop people.

This reeks of authoritative dictatorship rather than a democracy. We won’t be surprised to hear that the government has a strong hand in this. Nerdy folks over there are already resorting to using VPN services to bypass the restrictions. My friend John disclosed the elections will last up till Friday, so these restrictions might last till then.

In this time of ours, I don’t deem it necessary to take such steps. What will happen will still happen. Do you think the government made the right move? Or is this one of those cases of government influencing the media? Your thoughts.

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