The Archbishop of Church of Uganda, Dr Steven Kazimba Mugalu has described the decision by authorities in Uganda to block citizens’ access to social media as inconsiderate and one that will affect many Ugandans.
His remarks followed government’s decision to switch off social media access yesterday afternoon, a move that left social media users in a total blackout.
Over the weekend, Facebook took down several pro-NRM accounts with the most high profile being that of President Museveni’s senior press secretary, Don Wanyama, social media influencers such as Full Figure, Olaxxes, Ashburg Kato, Bajjo among others.
In retaliation, authorities in Uganda, blocked access by citizens to social media Apps especially Facebook and Twitter leaving majority of social media enthusiasts stranded. Others who are smart have resorted to Virtual Protocol Networks to send and receive information ahead of polls due tomorrow, Thursday.
In a nation address on Tuesday evening, president Museveni confirmed the move as meant to counteract the “arrogance of foreigners” who want to make decisions on behalf of Ugandans. Museveni said it was necessary for service providers to ensure equitable access to the service other than targeting a few.
Speaking during a press briefing at the Inter-Religious Council of Uganda offices in Kampala, Archbishop Kazimba Mugalu says social media is used by many people for different reasons and its being disabled leaves many people stranded. Dr Kazimba says the move denies people access to valuable information that would help them to make critical life-changing decisions.
During the same briefing other members of the council called upon security forces to maintain law and order in a humane way. Religious leaders including the Mufti of Uganda Sheik Shaban Ramathan Mubajje and the leader of Born-Again Dr Joseph Serwadda urged voters to avoid taking part in acts of violence that might attract the brunt force of security operatives.
In a statement on Monday, Facebook said the accounts were taken down because “They used fake and duplicate accounts to manage pages, comment on other people’s content, impersonate users, re-share posts in groups to make them appear more popular than they were.”
Museveni said there is no way somebody can come to decide who is good or bad for Ugandans. The President also said that the social media channels ought to be used equitably by everyone, noting that government has also retaliated by blocking Facebook.