Uganda orders internet shutdown hours before election


The Ugandan government, through its communications agency, has ordered service providers to halt internet access just hours before voting starts.  

The move effectively means that Ugandans will cast their ballots on Thursday amidst an internet blackout.

The shutdown also comes days after the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) reportedly ordered providers to block all social media platforms and messaging apps until further notice.

The country is set to commence voting in an exercise that will see President Yoweri Museveni, 76, defend his seat from several presidential contenders including popstar cum politician Bobi Wine, 38. 

The election also follows a bloody campaign period characterised by State repression aimed at opposition candidates. 

"Information coming in is that the regime in Uganda is going to order for a complete shut down of the internet in a short while. No matter what they do, the world is watching," Wine, whose real name is Robert Kyagulanyi, said on Wednesday evening. 

Earlier today, the United States Ambassador to the country announced that America had cancelled its decision to observe the election after the country’s electoral commission failed to accredit its observers.

“It is with profound disappointment that I announce US Mission in Uganda’s decision to cancel our diplomatic observation of Uganda’s January 14 elections due to the decision by the Electoral Commission of Uganda to deny more than 75 per cent of the US election observer accreditations requested,” Amb Natalie Brown said in a statement.

11 candidates are running for the country's top seat in this year's poll.