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Uganda Elections: Facebook Shuts Down Government-Linked Accounts

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Facebook has shutdown dozens of accounts connected to Uganda’s ruling party National Resistance Movement (NRM). It accused on Monday the various accounts of seeking to manipulate public debate ahead of Thursday’s general elections.

President Yoweri Museveni`s aide Don Wanyama says Facebook and twitter are being opponents of the ruling party –NRM as the election nears.

The east African nation-Uganda is holding presidential and parliamentary polls after a tense and bloody campaign, with 76-year-old president Yoweri Museveni, facing a stiff challenge from the 38-year-old popstar-turned-politician Bobi Wine.

Museveni’s senior press secretary Don Wanyama, who saw both his Facebook and Instagram account shut down, accused the company of seeking to influence the election.

“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, told news agency AFP.

“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 that they were.”

Anim-Addo said the network was linked to the ministry of information and communications technology.

“Given the impending election in Uganda, We moved quickly to investigate and take down this network.”

One of president Yuweri Museveni `s aide said …”they should “unfreeze” accounts they froze yesterday & today,” don Wanyama tweeted on Sunday.

He urged the Uganda communications commission “to act to ensure a fair digital playfield.”

“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,” Wanyama was quoted as saying by the daily monitor news site. 

Ashburg Kato, a famous blogger for the ruling party, accused opposition politician and presidential candidate Bobi Wine and his aides of being behind the shutdown.

“Facebook itself deleted our accounts on the request of Bobi Wine’s handlers,” Kato tweeted.

Bobi Wine has not commented on the allegations.

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Rwanda’s Capital On Second Day Lockdown

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The Rwandan Capital-Kigali was plunged into a fresh fifteen days lockdown on Tuesday to curb the coronavirus spread. While the city of Kigali and other regions are in the process of preventing the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, some residents are urging their colleagues to fear the pandemic, and implement the existing regulations.

This comes as some continue to make unnecessary movements contrary to the existing regulations.

Across the neighborhoods, in the small and big streets, there is still the flow of people. There are those heading to the markets, hospitals, and others sitting or walking around. Those who witness this kind of behavior are criticizing it.

A sector administration in Nyarugenge district said, local authorities have a responsibility to sensitize the public to comply with the directives issued by national authorities.

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EU Demands Probe Of Bobi Wine’s Alleged Abuses

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The European Union (EU) says it is concerned about the continued harassment of politicians and civil society activists in Uganda after last week’s general election. Opposition presidential candidate, Robert Kyagulanyi, a pop star-turned-politician known as Bobi wine, has alleged being under house arrest in the capital, Kampala, since Friday, with soldiers laying siege on his home after he began disputing the results of the presidential election.

Incumbent, 76-year-old president Yoweri Museveni, was declared winner of the election. He has been in power since 1986, and the poll was his sixth elective term. Media report, the vote was marred by harassment of opposition candidates, suppression of media and a nationwide internet shutdown.

In a statement, the EU council of ministers called on the Kampala government to restrain its security agencies, investigate allegations of abuses and bring to account all those responsible for violations.

EU ministers have said the internet shutdown disrupted the work of journalists, observers and polling agents expected to monitor the election.

On Wednesday, human rights organizations in Kenya asked international and regional bodies, to set up a mediation team, to address alleged election malpractices in neighbouring Uganda. The activists, under the banner of Africa Elections Watch, say unresolved injustices during and after elections may cause riots and widespread human rights violations across Uganda.

The activists say if no action is taken now, African leaders, seeking fresh presidential terms, may be emboldened to rig elections.

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Ghana Opposition Condemns Election Tribunal Timeline

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Ghana opposition leader John Mahama’s lawyers say the court’s timeline is unfair for the case addressing their concerns over December’s election.

Ghana’s supreme court had set the date on Wednesday, for the hearing next Tuesday of an election petition filed by the opposition seeking to annul the results over irregularities.

The court ruled that all parties must file their witness statements by Thursday afternoon and the supreme court will begin the main hearing on Tuesday. The supreme court says the strict timeline was to enable the hearing of the petition within 42 days of the election as prescribed by law.

Mahama’s lawyers say justice should not be sacrificed for speed.

They had applied for a review of the court’s decision to dismiss their request for the electoral commission to answer questions about the process of declaring results.

They had also applied for original copies of the statement of polls which contains constituency results.

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