Tech Giant Facebook has confirmed to Agence France-Presse (AFP) that they did shut down a host of accounts belonging to Ugandan government officials, accusing them of seeking to manipulate public debate ahead of elections, Thursday.
On January 9th, over 50 pro-government Facebook accounts and pages were suspended and others permanently deleted.
“This month, we removed a network of accounts and pages in Uganda that engaged in CIB (Coordinated Inauthentic Behaviour) to target public debate ahead of the election,” Facebook’s head of communication for sub-Saharan Africa, Kezia Anim-Addo, said in an email.
Uganda is in 11th-hour preparations for what is the most anticipated election in Uganda’s recent past, set to happen this Thursday, 14th January. The affected parties/account handlers and holders have blamed ironically blamed this shut down on foreign agencies trying to interfere with Uganda’s democracy. Ironically, a while ago, the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) had written to YouTube asking for opposition-leaning accounts to be suspended for spreading a volatile message that was inciting violence.
“Shame on the foreign forces that think they can aid and plant a puppet leadership on Uganda by disabling online accounts of NRM supporters. You won’t take away President Kaguta Museveni,” senior presidential press secretary Don Wanyama remarked after the NRM-leaning accounts were shut down.
Some of the pages belonging to NRM members that were shut down include that of presidential adviser Jennifer Nakangubi aka Full Figure, socialite Ismah Olaxess and events promoter Bajjo, blogger Ashburg kato.