With the Ugandan Presidential elections, underway news broke that President Yoweri Museveni shut down all social media in the country. The move was largely seen by observers to be an attempt to stymie any opposition to his electoral victory.
President Museveni justified his actions by citing “security risks” and the fact that users were using social media messaging services such as Twitter, Facebook, and WhatsApp to “spread lies”.
In addition to these social media platforms, President Museveni also ordered all mobile financial transactions to be halted.
These orders were confirmed by both the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) and various telecommunications companies.
This year’s elections will be among the most hotly contested in the East African country since President Museveni took power in a coup in 1986. If President Museveni wins this year’s elections, the 71-year-old will begin his fourth term as the country’s president.
Political violence has already hit Uganda, earlier this week protests erupted following the arrest of an opposition leader, Kizza Besigye. Mr. Besigye was President Museveni’s personal physician, and has unsuccessfully run for president three times.
Many international observers are concerned that violence may occur during the elections. The Indian and American embassies have both issued warnings to any of their citizens in the country to avoid going out during the elections.