Thursday, May 12, 2016 2:58 pm
Authorities in Uganda, copying some tyrannical African countries, today blocked Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp and other social media citing security concerns ahead of the ceremony in Kampala in which Yoweri Museveni, 71, was sworn in for another five-year term.
The new term will extend his rule to 35 years, after seizing power in 1986.
The head of Uganda’s telecommunications regulator Godfrey Mutabazi said security agencies had asked that access to social media websites be blocked “to limit the possibility of terrorists taking advantage” of visits by dignitaries.
Police arrested Uganda’s ‘biggest terrorist’, opposition leader Kizza Besigye after a street protest on Wednesday. Besigye, who heads the Forum for Democratic Change party, won 35 percent of the vote. He has been under house arrest on and off since then.
With no apology for the clampdown on the socio-political space and cyberspace, Museveni later promised in his swearing-in speech that he would fight corruption and impose discipline on inefficient bureaucrats who frustrated investors.
The veteran leader officially won 60 percent of the votes in the February election.
But the opposition said the vote was rigged. Protests have erupted since, leading to clashes with police and dozens of arrests.
“These two mistakes, corruption and delays in decision making, irritate the public and frustrate the investors,” Museveni told visiting African presidents and other dignitaries.
“This time I will act directly so as to discipline the public service as we discipline the army,” the rebel-turned-statesman said, adding that he would work to boost agricultural output in the coffee and tea exporting nation.
Among the visitors was Sudan’s President Omar Hassan al Bashir. The International Criminal Court (ICC) has issued a warrant for his arrest for crimes against humanity. In welcoming comments, Museveni said the ICC was “a bunch of useless people.
Since coming to power in 1986, Museveni is credited with restoring order after years of chaos. But experts say the growing economy has not kept up with a rising population, while critics complain about corruption and a clampdown on dissent.