KAMPALA, 11 January 2021 – Fifty-five organizations have called on the Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni to keep access to the Internet open during and after the election of next January 14.
The main challenger to Museveniu, pop star Bobi Wine, has built an app to track and count votes, alongside the electoral commission.
Making access to the Internet impossible or difficult would prevent the U-Vote App available to all voters from functioning, thereby preventing them from tracking the vote.
The Committee to Protect Journalists is one of the 54, signing on to the letter in defense of journalists who need the Internet to do their work.
Shutting the Intenet would also infringe on citizens’ rights to “key information at a crucial moment in a democracy, damaging their capacity to make informed choices”.
Kampala recently called on Google to shutdown the accounts of organizations affiliated with opposition candidates.
During the 2016 election in Uganda, officials disrupted access to the Internet, notably access to social media networks where opposition campaigns tend to mobilize.
Social media platforms and theInternet have become a crucial “get out the vote” platform in a world where mass gatherings are both banned and outlawed as part of efforts to stem the spread of the new coronavirus..
Access to the Internet was also interrupted during Museveni’s most recent inauguration in May 2016.
President Museveni seeks a record sixth term in office.