KAMPALA, 18 January 2021 – Internet service has resumed across Uganda after being shutdown on the eve of legislative and presidentival elections last Thursday.
Social media platforms are still not accessible, leaving Ugandans to turn to Virtual Private Networks (VPN) to gain access.
It is widely believed that President Yoweri Museveni either ordered or gave his blessings to the shutdown.
The 76-year-old Msueveni – in power for 35 years already – won a record sixth term with nearly 59 percent of the votes cast.
His main challenger, 35-year-old pop star turned musician, Bobi Wine, was credited with nearly 35 percent of the votes cast.
The pop star has refused to concede, alleging fraud.
Uganda’s electoral commission denies the allegations and has challenged Bobi Wine to provide evidence of any fraud.
Ahead of the twin elections, telecoms operators in the country told reporters that they were ordered to shutdown social media platforms.
Museveni has accused social media of being biased, slamming Facebook notably for deleting Facebook acocunts in the lead up to the elections.
Facebook said its investigations established that those behind the accounts were members of Mr. Museveni’s party and were coordinating attacks against opposition figures.
Museveni accused Facebook of “arrogance”, suggesting that the online giant had decied to separate those it considers good Ugandans from theose they consider bad.
Bobi Wine has promised to share evidence of fraud once online services are fully restored.
He says the onging shutdown and restriction in online services was ordered to prevent Ugandans from sharing evidence of vote rigging.
“They don’t want work to continue at our offices because they know that we are putting together evidence to show the world how much of a fraudster Museveni is,” an official of Bobi Wine’s political party told the BBC Monday.
Security forces continued to surround Bobi Wine’s home Monday, implementing what lawyers have charged constitutes house arrest.
The Ugandan government has said troops have surrounded the pop star’s home for his own protection.
Critics and commentators on Ugandan media have wondered why troops reportedly protecting Bobe Wine would prevent guests and visitors from visiting his home and prevent him from leaving his residence.