Facebook’s head of communication for sub-Saharan Africa, Kezia Anim-Addo, says the social media platform has shut down dozens of accounts aligned to Uganda’s ruling party and party of President Yoweri Museveni, National Resistance Movement (NRM).
Uganda will hold its presidential election on Thursday, 14 January with Incumbent President Yoweri Museveni, who has ruled the country since 1986, seeking re-election while former reggae musician, Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, known by his stage name Bobi Wine, has emerged his main challenger.
Facebook accused the accounts of seeking to manipulate public debate ahead of Thursday’s general elections.
“This month, we removed a network of accounts and pages in Uganda that engaged in Coordinated Inauthentic Behaviour to target public debate ahead of the election,” Anim-Addo said.
An aide to President Yoweri Museveni accused Facebook and Twitter of being opponents of NRM.
“They should “unfreeze” accounts they froze yesterday & today,” Don Wanyama tweeted on Sunday.
He urged the Uganda Communications Commission “to act to ensure a fair digital playfield.”
“Shame on the foreign forces that think they can aid and plant a puppet leadership on Uganda by disabling online accounts of NRM supporters. You won’t take away President Kaguta Museveni,” Mr Wanyama was quoted as saying by news site, Daily Monitor.
Ashburg Kato, a famous blogger for the ruling party, accused opposition politician and presidential candidate Bobi Wine and his aides of being behind the shutdown.
“Facebook itself deleted our accounts on the request of Bobi Wine’s handlers,” Kato tweeted.
Bobi Wine has not commented on the allegations.
Uganda Election: Bobi Wine Files Arbitrary Detention Complaint
The Presidential candidate of the National Unity Platform (NUP) in the Uganda election, Robert Kyagulanyi a.k.a Bobi Wine, has filed an arbitrary detention complaint to the United Nations (UN).
The Ugandan military has since Friday surrounded Bobi Wine’s house, a day after Uganda conducted presidential elections, barring him from going out or receiving visitors.
In a tweet on Wednesday, Bobi Wine, said: “Nigerian human rights lawyer Femi Falana has filed this complaint on my behalf to the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Arrest.
“We are challenging my continued illegal confinement by the Ugandan police and the military.”
Long-time president Museveni, 76, was re-elected with almost 59 per cent of the vote, followed by 38-year-old Wine, with roughly 35 per cent.
Wine says he will legally contest the result of the presidential election, alleging “widespread fraud” during the Jan. 14 poll, which was seen as Uganda’s first election in which there was a real threat to Museveni’s rule.
Museveni, one of Africa’s longest-serving leaders, has retained power for 35 years.
He had changed Uganda’s constitution to enable himself to run for yet another five-year term.
The election had been overshadowed by violence since campaigning began, with almost daily violence being reported.
The internet was shut down across the country shortly before the start of voting.
It has since returned, although social media remains unavailable.
Ugandans Go to the Polls; This Time to Vote for Mayors
The Ugandan electorate on Wednesday returned to polling stations to elect city mayors and district chairpersons.
According to Electoral Commission (EC) road map, Wednesday’s elections of District Local Government Councils shall include elections for District/City Chairpersons, Lord Mayor, Mayors, and Councillors at local government level.
The poll is holding about a week after presidential and parliamentary polls were held. However, local media say voter turnout are low in the local government council elections compared to last week’s elections.
Analysts say the low turnout was expected as some voters were unhappy with how the general elections were conducted.
Popular musician Jose Chameleon, real name Joseph Mayanja, is contesting to be mayor of the capital, Kampala. His rivals include Nabilah Naggayi, Dan Kazibwe, Godfrey Nyakana and incumbent Erias Lukwago.
Under the Local Government Act, District chairpersons are among others, mandated to preside over meetings of the executive committees of the districts, monitor the general administration of the districts and implementation of council decisions.
Meanwhile, the results of the presidential election continued to generate tensions locally and internationally. A Nigerian senior advocate and human rights activist, Femi Falana (SAN), on Tuesday dragged President Yoweri Museveni to the United Nations over the illegal house arrest of his main challenger, Robert Kyagulanyi a.k.a Bobi Wine.
Bobi Wine, 38, has not been seen outside of his home since the Presidential election held last Thursday.
On Tuesday, US Ambassador to Uganda, Natalie E. Brown, who went to Wine’s resident to check on his health and safety, because he has “effectively been unable to leave his home, with security forces surrounding his residence,” was turned back by the army, a Facebook post said.
Uganda Election: Nigerian Lawyer, Falana, Takes Museveni Complaints to the UN
Nigerian lawyer and human rights activist, Femi Falana (SAN), has filed a complaint at the United Nations against President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda over the illegal detention of Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine.
Bobi Wine, a former reggae musician, had been under house arrest since Thursday night.
News Central reports that 38-year-old Bobi Wine was Museveni’s main challenger in the 14 January 2021 Presidential election.
Contesting as a presidential candidate under the umbrella of the National Union Platform (NUP), Bobi Wine had emerged second best after polling 38 per cent of the votes.
Museveni was declared winner after claiming 58 per cent of votes cast.
However, Ugandan forces had condoned off Wine’s house since last Thursday, effectively keeping him and his wife under house arrest and incommunicado.
On Tuesday, the United States Government announced that the U.S. Ambassador to Uganda, Natalie Brown, had been barred from seeing Bobi Wine
In a statement same day, Falana said that Bobi Wine had been denied access to his lawyers in a bid to prevent him from filing a petition against the declaration of Museveni as the winner of the highly flawed Presidential election.
“We have submitted a complaint against the government of Uganda to the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention concerning the detention of the detained couple,” Falana said.
The complaint by Falana, which was attached to the statement, read in part, “Mr. Wine and his wife are being illegally detained for days without any criminal charges preferred against him. He has also been denied adequate supply of food by hundreds of Uganda military forces and policemen who have laid siege to his house for the umpteenth time since the election day.
“I am therefore seeking an opinion from the Working Group finding the house arrest and continuing detention of Mr. Wine and his wife to be arbitrary and in violation of Uganda’s Constitution of 1995 (as amended) and obligations under international human rights law including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights to which Uganda is a state party.”
Also, a top U.S. diplomat to Africa, Tibor Nagy, called Uganda’s electoral process “fundamentally flawed,” citing “authorities’ denial of accreditation to election observers, violence and harassment of opposition figures” and the arrest of civil service organization workers.
“We continue to urge restraint and rejection of violence by all actors as Uganda’s election results are announced,” said Nagy in a series of tweets,.
“The immediate and full restoration of Internet connectivity is essential. The U.S. response hinges on what the Ugandan government does now.”
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