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Uganda Restores Internet, Social Media, Bars Access to Facebook

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Diplomats decry Uganda suppression of press freedom

Uganda’s State Minister for ICT and National Guidance, Peter Ogwang, has announced the full restoration of internet and social media services with the exception of Facebook.

Internet and social media were barred on the eve of the country’s general elections on January 12, 2021.

President Yoweri Museveni had at the time accused Facebook of being arrogant and biased after the platform removed accounts linked to his party – the ruling party.

Ogwang, while announcing the full restoration on Wednesday, apologised to the nation for the inconveniences.

And on Wednesday the tech platform again announced it had shut down a new batch of more than 200 accounts linked to the ruling party.

The company alleged that the accounts were seeking to spread misinformation and to manipulate public debate ahead of the highly contested poll.

Facebook said the accounts based in Uganda,targeted domestic audiences and relied on fake and duplicate accounts in order to make posts appear more popular than they actually were.

The head of Facebook’s Global Threat Disruption, David Agranovich, said their investigation found evidence linking fake accounts directly to Uganda’s Ministry of Information and Communications Technology.

Facebook also deleted a further 139 Instagram accounts which mostly shared content in support of President Museveni and his party, the National Resistance Movement.

His closest challenger in the polls was musician turned politician Robert Kyagulanyi also known as Bobi Wine who was four years old when Museveni seized power in 1986 after waging a guerrilla war.

Museveni secured a sixth term in the election but Bobi Wine is challenging the results in court alleging that there was widespread fraud.

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East Africa Politics News

Uganda’s President Museveni, Chinese Diplomats in Bilateral Discussions

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Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni has met with visiting senior Chinese diplomat Yang Jiechi in Entebbe to discuss promoting bilateral relations between the two countries.

Yang, a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee pointed out that China-Uganda relations have developed smoothly in the last few years.

China supports Uganda in its pursuit of a development path suited to its national conditions and stands ready to work with Uganda to further deepen political mutual trust and enhance the complementarity of development strategies.

China plans to expand practical cooperation within the framework of jointly building the Belt and Road Initiative and implementing the outcomes of the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, as well as pushing the bilateral comprehensive cooperative partnership to a new height.

China has declared readiness to continue to cooperate with Uganda in fighting the Coronavirus pandemic and jointly promote the building of a community of common health for mankind.

Museveni stressed that Uganda abides by the one-China principle, opposes foreign interference in China’s internal affairs, and is willing to strengthen coordination and cooperation with China in international and regional affairs.

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Uganda: Bobi Wine Withdraws Election Results Petition

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Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, a.k.a Bobi Wine, has withdrawn his challenging the results of Uganda’s January 14 presidential election from the Supreme Court, citing judges bias.

The National Unity Platform (NUP) presidential candidate, who is seen as the leader of the opposition in Uganda, said he is dropping his case because the courts are filled with “yes-men” appointed by President Yoweri Museveni and he did not expect a fair decision from the panel of nine judges.

Recall that Bobi Wine had gone to the supreme court after losing the Ugandan poll to Museveni. The 76-year-old, who has been in power since 1986, won a 6th term with 58% of the vote while Wine had 35%.

Bobi Wine, who was four years old when Museveni grabbed power, called those results fraudulent, citing cases of soldiers allegedly stuffing ballot boxes, casting ballots for people, chasing voters away from polling stations and asked the court to overturn the results.

The musician turned politician says that he will now take the matter to the court of public opinion, using non-violent means.

Recall that Bobi Wine had initially said he did not wish to launch a legal challenge because a courtroom loss would validate Museveni’s victory.

Museveni won previous legal challenges to his election victories, and analysts had predicted the judges were still unlikely to rule against him.

More than 50 people were killed in violence ahead of the election.

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Uganda: Soldiers Assault Journalists at Bobi Wine UNHRC Petition Submission

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Ugandan security forces on Wednesday beat up and injured journalists who were covering the National Unity Platform (NUP) presidential candidate in January 14 election, Robert Kyagulanyi a.k.a Bobi Wine, deliver his petition to United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) offices in Kampala, the capital.

Several journalists at the event have reportedly been admitted to hospitals after the assault from military police who arrived outside the UNHRC office in trucks.

Stephen Bwire, Secretary-General of Uganda Journalists Union, said no fewer than 20 journalists were hurt in the attack, with at least four sustaining deep cuts on the head after getting thrashed with batons.

Bobi Wine lost the January 14 presidential election to incumbent Yoweri Museveni, who has ruled Uganda since 1986. He rejected the results and has filed a court case seeking annulment of the poll, which he claimed was rigged.

President Yoweri Museveni recently announced the arrest and detention of of 300 people for rioting and other criminal acts.

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