President Yoweri Museveni has revealed why Uganda government has decided to block social media platforms especially Facebook ahead of Thursday’s general elections.
Addressing the nation on Tuesday night, the President said the NRM government cannot allow anybody to come and play around with Uganda by deciding who is good or bad.
“I am sorry for the inconvenience to those who have been using this channel (Facebook), but we cannot tolerate this arrogance of anybody coming to decide for us who is good and who is bad,” Museveni assured.
“I told our people to warn those Facebook people. If they do not want to cooperate, they shall not operate here. I am sure government has already closed social media.” Museveni said.
Museveni said he hates arrogant people, and warned that they shall not operate from here.
Mr Museveni’s comments come hot on the heels of Facebook’s decision to shut down several accounts linked to the country’s Ministry of Information. The social media company accused the blocked people of using fake accounts to promote the ruling party and the President.
President Museveni’s aide, and media manager working at the Office of the National Chairman in Kyambogo, told this website that it is unfortunate Facebook would take a partisan position in relation to Uganda politics. He said for many Ugandans and people around the world, Facebook is a social channel to communicate with friends and when business entities start politicking, it is equivalent to overstepping their business interests.
The Facebook accounts shut down were allegedly linked to the “Citizens Interaction Center” at the Ministry of Information and Communications Technology.
In a statement issued on Monday, Facebook accuses the account holders of using fake and duplicate accounts to manage pages, comment on other people’s content, impersonate users and re-share posts in groups to make them appear more popular than they were.
Duncan Abigaba, the deputy head of the center, said the accounts were targeted because of their support for Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni and the ruling National Resistance Movement or NRM.
Mr Abigaba said the action by Facebook is unfair since members of the opposition National Unity Platform party, led by singer-turned-politician Bobi Wine, have been using social media to promote Wine’s presidential candidacy.
“So, NRM had to try and sell our candidate as well in the social media space. By selling the candidate, it means you have to employ different tactics including you put out content. And this content you must share it in different groups for it to have as much reach as possible,” said Abigaba.
The Uganda Communications Commission had written to Facebook and Twitter late last year, demanding it shut down several accounts it said were being used wrongly by members of the opposition’s National Unity Platform.
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