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Uganda Restores Internet After Five-Day Shutdown Over Election

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(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – The Internet was partially restored in Uganda on Monday almost five days after a near-total blackout was imposed across the country ahead of elections the opposition says were rigged.

The gradual easing of internet curbs came as police announced dozens of arrests for alleged election-related violence, and surrounded the headquarters of the main opposition party whose leader is under effective house arrest.

Long-term leader Yoweri Musveni was declared the winner of a January 14 presidential election, securing 58.6 percent of the vote and a sixth term after 35 years in power.

His main rival, musician-turned-lawmaker Bobi Wine, came a distant second with 34.8 percent. He has rejected the results, and decried the election as a sham.

A government spokesman said an unprecedented internet shutdown imposed on January 13 for alleged national security reasons had been lifted.

“The internet has been restored. Other platforms are still under review,” Ofwono Opondo, the spokesman, told AFP.


“We shall go full throttle depending on what happens in the initial phase of opening connectivity… We advise internet users, especially those from the opposition, not to use it to promote hate messages, threats” and intimidation.

Social media access remained patchy in the capital Kampala, where millions of internet users have been unable to send emails, search the web, or use Facebook, WhatsApp and other communication platforms for the better part of a week.

NetBlocks, a non-government organisation that tracks internet shutdowns, said network data showed a rise in connectivity in Uganda to 37 percent after all but core infrastructure, regulatory and government networks were switched off.

“This suggests that Uganda’s election shutdown, or at least the procedure under which it was implemented, was planned some time in advance. This has been one of the more orderly nation-scale network blackouts we’ve tracked,” NetBlocks told AFP

AFP


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