Ugandan President orders Social media platforms to be blocked for elections

Ugandan President orders Social media platforms to be blocked for elections

- Yoweri Museveno orders social media platforms to be blocked  during elections

- He says they are avenues for telling lies

 - Mr.Museveni is seeking another term of office with 8 others.

Ugandan President orders Social media platforms to be blocked for elections

Long queues formed outside polling stations

Ugandan President, Yoweri Museveni  has ordered social media platforms to be blocked in Uganda, during the election process.

The platforms, mostly Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp and mobile money services have  been blocked because Mr. Museveni claims  it is a measure to prevent people from telling lies.

The 71years old president is seeking to extend his 30-year rule, in a race widely seen as the tightest in the East African state's history. It was reported on Tuesday by the BBC that Mr. Museveni’s main rival, Kizza Besigye, was briefly detained by police and later released after his supporters protested.

Interviewed on TV about social media, Mr Museveni   who was interviewed on TV about his decision said: "Some people misuse those pathways. You know how they misuse them - telling lies.If you want a right then use it properly".

The president’s decision  has raised concers from foreign observers who condemned his decision and lengthy delays in opening voting booths. In Uganada, many people are reported to have found a way  around the controversial restrictions, including opposition candidate Amama Mbabazi who tweeted advice on how to do it: A VPN - a Virtual Private Network - gets round government censorship by redirecting your internet activity to a computer in a different country. Despite the blockage, #UgandaDecides was trending on Twitter.

Ugandan President orders Social media platforms to be blocked for elections

A shot of Amama Mbabazi tweet on the elections

Commonwealth election observer mission head Olusegun Obasanjo said: "It is ill advised if anyone has blocked social media."

Condemning the failure of voting stations to open on time, he said: "Delays of three, four, five and even six hours, especially in Kampala, are absolutely inexcusable and will not inspire trust and confidence in the system and the process".

The electoral commission said difficulties in transporting electoral materials caused the delays. The BBC in the capital, Kampala, reports that crowds were angry after waiting several hours to vote and police fired tear gas to disperse them.

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Voting was cancelled at at least two polling stations in the city after clashes with police and accusations of fake ballots being distributed. Some voters in Kampala, traditionally an opposition stronghold, accused the authorities of deliberately stalling the vote, AFP news agency reports.

Ugandan President orders Social media platforms to be blocked for elections

After long delays voters surrounding a policeman struggling to keep hold of election materials at a station on the outskirts of Kampala

Mr Besigye was arrested for demanding access to a house in Kampala where he believed vote rigging was taking place following the closure of polling stations, said Ssemujju Ibrahim Nganda, spokesman for his FDC party. He is among seven opposition candidates hoping to end Mr Museveni's 30-year rule.

A candidate needs to secure more than 50% of the vote to avoid a run-off with the second-ranked contender.

Ugandans also voted in parliamentary and local elections and results would be released by Saturday.

 

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