Internet restored but social media blocked

A man browses Facebook on his smart phone after the mobile internet went back online in Kampala
Online services were restricted ahead of last week’s vote, and social media remains blocked

Ugandans are celebrating the resumption of internet services after a shutdown was imposed ahead of last week’s election.

However, social media platforms remain blocked and are only accessible using Virtual Private Networks (VPN).

President Yoweri Museveni, who won an unprecedented sixth term in office, had accused the platforms of being biased.

Bobi Wine, presidential candidate for the opposition National Unity Platform, alleged the poll was marred by fraud.

The party’s spokesperson Joel Ssenyonyi accused Mr Museveni of shutting down the internet to prevent them from sharing evidence of fraud.

He told the BBC’s Newsday programme that the party was in the process of collecting election results forms that have evidence of irregularities.

Mr Ssenyonyi told the Reuters news agency that NUP’s offices had been raided.

“They don’t want work to continue at our offices because they know that we are putting together evidence to show the world how much of a fraudster Museveni is,” he said.

President Museveni said on Saturday that the poll could be the “most cheating-free” in the history of the country.

The electoral commission declared Mr Museveni the winner with 59% of the vote, with his closest challenger Bobi Wine garnering 34%.

Mr Museveni has ruled Uganda since 1986.

The communication blackout has led to strong criticism against the Ugandan government from human rights organisations.

In the meantime, security forces continue to surround Bobi Wine’s home, with senior officers saying the move was aimed at preventing violence.

There is also a heavy deployment of soldiers and police in the streets on the capital, Kampala, the BBC’s Patience Atuhaire reports.

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