Uganda Hit by Internet Blackout Amid Tense Elections

The Ugandan government ordered a temporary block on all social media and messaging apps, cutting internet access in the country hours before a tense presidential election pitting Yoweri Museveni, one of Africa's longest serving leaders, against pop star and actor-turned-politician Bobi Wine. President Yoweri Museveni claims that this temporary internet cut was because Facebook had banned several accounts which backed his ruling party, while Bobi Wine responded that the latest order was "oppressive" and is part of a plot to rig the elections. According to internet monitoring group NetBlocks, Uganda descended into an internet blackout starting on Wednesday at about 19:00 local time. Connectivity fell to about 33% of normal levels as the government order came into effect.


According to local reports, although elections were supposed to start at 07:00 local time on Thursday, some polling stations were still waiting on materials to be delivered when the polls were supposed to open. As of now, many long lines have formed as polling stations across the nation, and though polls are supposed to close at 16:00, the electoral commission said that in response to the slow start and long queues, all registered voters who are in queue by closing time will be allowed to cast their ballots. The results of the election are not expected to be clear until Saturday.


Presently, President Museveni is seeking his sixth elected term in office after 35 years in power. Under President Museveni, the nation has seen relative peace, and also made efforts to combat the HIV/AIDS situation in Uganda.  


Note: All images were retrieved from the public domain, and do not require attribution or citation for commercial use. 

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